Vancouver man caught in crossfire of Kenya mall attack laid to rest

Published: September 27, 2013

West Vancouver businessman Nagib Damji was killed when he was caught in the crossfire at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Nick Procaylo/PNG

JENNY LEE
POSTMEDIA NEWS

As the shrouded white coffin of Vancouver businessman Nagib Damji passed on bearers’ shoulders, the congregation repeatedly sang a soothingly hypnotic Salwaat, or prayer, for Damji, one of two Canadians who died in a weekend terrorist attack in Kenya that killed at least 68.

About 400 people attended the ceremony at the Burnaby Ismaili Centre to commemorate Damji, 59, who was having a coffee at ArtCaffe in the Westgate Shopping Mall in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi last weekend when he was caught in a crossfire.

Damji’s family released a statement Friday, describing him as “a loving husband, cherished father of three daughters, a brother, a son and a good friend to many.” They noted his “vivacious, kind-hearted, gregarious” nature and his “magnetic personality and a great love for people, especially his family.”

In keeping with Muslim tradition, the funeral ceremony itself was all about a community coming together in support rather than a celebration of individuality. Muslims believe that everyone is equal in the eyes of God, so all funerals are identical with the same prayers, rites and ceremonies. Continuous prayers are recited for the soul of the deceased from the moment the death is known until funeral ceremonies are complete.

Men and women sat separately Friday, mostly cross-legged on the floor, and sang continuous prayers for about an hour.

The family has set up a donation page for Damji’s favourite charity, The Aga Khan Foundation, which helps improve the living conditions of poor people in Asia and Africa.

(Those who wish to donate can do so by visiting www.akfcnet community.ca/netcommunity/tribute-gifts/2013/tribute-in-memory-of-late-naguib-damji)

Damji and the other Canadian were killed as gunmen used AK-47 assault rifles and threw grenades at Nairobi’s upscale Westgate mall, a venue frequented by expatriates and wealthy locals. Officials said the other Canadian killed was diplomat Annemarie Desloges, who worked at the Canadian embassy in Nairobi.

The attack began Saturday and dragged into Sunday, with 10 to 15 terrorists holed up inside the building with up to 50 hostages, as Kenyan authorities mounted what it called a final operation to end the siege. By evening, Kenyan officials said “most” hostages had been rescued. Somalia’s Islamist rebel group, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility and said the attack was revenge for the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia.

At least two Canadian citizens and one permanent resident of Canada were among the 175 injured.

jennylee@vancouversun.com

Friends and family members attend the funeral of Nagib Damji in Burnaby, BC., September 27, 2013. West Vancouver businessman Nagib Damji was killed in when he was caught in the crossfire at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. (Nick Procaylo/PNG)


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,





Featured

Dr. Rohit Joshi, chairman of Aarna Superspecialty Hospital in Gujarat.

Newborn Indian baby has tail – that was his parasitic twin – removed

VANCOUVER DESI An Indian baby born with a 350 grams, 12-cm ‘tail’ on his back has had it removed just five days after birth, according…
Continue Reading »

Canada border-United States-CBSA

Three Afghan officers detained at Canadian border now in US immigration custody

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BOSTON — Three Afghanistan National Army officers who vanished during training in Massachusetts were placed in the custody of U.S. Immigration and…
Continue Reading »

Kamloops politics unemployment

Ben James runs for mayor of Kamloops because he’s bored

Unemployed 30-year-old aims to enliven city’s political culture ANDREA KLASSEN KAMLOOPS THIS WEEK KAMLOOPS — Being bored and unemployed has led a Kamloops, B.C., man…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Bollywood desi

Gallery: 10 reasons to attend Bollywood extravaganza in Vancouver

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood baadshah Shah Rukh Khan and his ‘Happy New Year’ stars Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Malaika Arora Khan, Vivaan…
Continue Reading »

Kamloops politics unemployment

Ben James runs for mayor of Kamloops because he’s bored

Unemployed 30-year-old aims to enliven city’s political culture ANDREA KLASSEN KAMLOOPS THIS WEEK KAMLOOPS — Being bored and unemployed has led a Kamloops, B.C., man…
Continue Reading »

India-Vancouver-We Day

We Day encourages young people to take action for positive change

STUART DERDEYN VANCOUVER DESI Grammy Award-winners Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, film star Orlando Bloom, Olympic silver medallist Silken Laumann, singer Selena Gomez and martial arts…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

All Women's jirga

Pakistani women making history – fighting for rights using Jirga

SUNNY MANGAT VANCOUVER DESI Pakistani women making history –fighting for rights using Jirga. A Jirga is essentially a community council that is made up of…
Continue Reading »

10215519

Surrey mayor on man accused of Serena Vermeersch murder: ‘Why on earth would you let him free?’

VANCOUVER DESI A high-risk sex offender has been charged in the slaying of Surrey teen Serena Vermeersch. Raymond Lee Caissie, 43, was the subject of…
Continue Reading »

15112641520_00dae0b15b_z

Photos: Vancouver designer showcases collection inspired by tragic collapse of clothing sweat shop in Bangladesh

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver’s 23-year-old fashion designer Taran Cheema showcased her second collection at Vancouver Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2015 showcase on Thursday. Models walked the runway…
Continue Reading »

PNG_0920N_BARINDER_RASODE_MAYORAL_ANNOUNCEMENT_218072244

Q & A: Surrey mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode discusses upcoming campaign trail

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI After months of speculation, Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode finally confirmed her bid for mayor in the upcoming election at a…
Continue Reading »

Larissa Cahute

Video: Vancouver Desi reporter gets a ‘desi’ makeover

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi reporter Larissa Cahute gets a taste of the hectic life backstage at Vancouver Fashion Week as she gets done up in…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Daler Mehndi

Tunak Tunak Tun: Rediscover the greatest viral video of the 2000s

ISHMAEL N. DARO CANADA.COM Creating a “viral” video today requires a fair amount of luck. First, what you create has to be funny, interesting or…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood desi

Gallery: 10 reasons to attend Bollywood extravaganza in Vancouver

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood baadshah Shah Rukh Khan and his ‘Happy New Year’ stars Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Malaika Arora Khan, Vivaan…
Continue Reading »

LGBTQ

Mr. Gay India hopes to sensitize TV viewers to LGBT cause via Bigg Boss 8 (w/gallery)

IANS New Delhi – Sushant Divgikar, the winner of Mr.Gay India 2014, hopes that his presence on the reality show “Bigg Boss 8″ can change…
Continue Reading »