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

India pachydermal love story

Indian elephant heartbroken after partner’s death

VANCOUVER DESI An elephant in India has been diagnosed with a broken heart after its partner died on Tuesday, according to the Hindustan Times. The…
Continue Reading »

Police tape

Woman found dead in Abbotsford park identified as Mission resident

JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI Abbotsford police have identified a woman found dead in Mill Lake Park on Wednesday morning as a 36-year-old Mission resident. The…
Continue Reading »

monkey man

India employs men dressed in ape suits to scare away monkeys from parliament

VANCOUVER DESI The Indian government has hired ape-men or men dressed as langurs to scare off monkeys from the parliament and government buildings, according to…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Police tape

Woman found dead in Abbotsford park identified as Mission resident

JENNIFER SALTMAN VANCOUVER DESI Abbotsford police have identified a woman found dead in Mill Lake Park on Wednesday morning as a 36-year-old Mission resident. The…
Continue Reading »

medical distress

RCMP seek public’s help to identify woman found in medical distress in Burnaby

VANCOUVER DESI The Burnaby RCMP are seeking public’s help in identifying an unknown woman who was found “in medical distress” on Wednesday. Police said she…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-politics-desi

Surrey councillor Barinder Rasode set to launch next phase of “summer engagement series”

VANCOUVER DESI As she gears up for the upcoming Surrey election this fall, city councillor Barinder Rasode is launching the next phase of her “summer…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

India-rape-protest

Minor allegedly raped by temple priest in southern India

HINDUSTAN TIMES An 11-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a temple priest in Bangalore on Tuesday, less than a month after a seven-year-old was raped…
Continue Reading »

10448541_801823293184201_5325323972611294529_desi

Miss Diva 2014 gears up for auditions

IANS New Delhi – Miss Diva, that was launched last year as an official franchise from India for Miss Universe, is set to start auditions…
Continue Reading »

Scene from Airtel's latest commercial. YouTube/Screengrab.

Indian telecom company’s not so progressive ad featuring a “boss wife” causes Twitter reaction

IANS New Delhi  – Is a woman who calls the shots in the office then goes home to cook for her husband – who’s also…
Continue Reading »

child death

Toddler falls into pot of boiling syrup, dies

  IANS New Delhi – A three-year-old boy died after he fell into a pot of boiling sugar syrup, police said here Wednesday. The child,…
Continue Reading »

Merritt music festival

Headdresses banned from Merritt music festival out of respect to First Nations

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI An electronic music festival this B.C. Day long weekend in Merritt has banned native headdresses from its campgrounds. “Bass Coast Festival…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

SALMAN KHAN

Kick: Salman Khan, Sajid Nadiadwala kick up a storm

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Kick”; Cast: Salman Khan, Randeep Hooda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Jacqueline Fernandez; Director: Sajid Nadiadwala; Rating: **** “Kick toh banta hai,…
Continue Reading »

Anish_Paris_2_small

Indian author pens sequel to Jeffrey Archer’s ‘First Among Equals’ for Bollywood film

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Mumbai – In what must qualify as a first in the field of literary adaptations, author-columnist Anish Trivedi has written a…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan joins hands with Indian TV channel to host Indian version of “Got Talent”

IANS Mumbai – Superstar Shah Rukh Khan has joined hands with Hindi general entertainment channel Colors for his return to the small screen. He will…
Continue Reading »