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Tragedy in the Bronx


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Two Muslim families, originally from Mali, suffered a massive tragedy when their home in the Bronx (New York) suffered one of the city’s worst fatal fire. Br. Moussa Magassa lost five of his eleven children. It was worse for Br. Mamadou Soumare, who lost his wife and in the fire, and just yesterday, his 6-year old daughter passed away, the oldest and last survivor of his four children; his whole family has perished. Inna lillahi wa inna alehi rajioon.

We cannot but appreciate the support pouring in from the Muslim community as well as the non-Muslim community. The Yankees baseball team pledged to cover the funeral costs, which for Muslims is much less than Christians, but still can be significant. A group of businessmen pledge $25,000, and several Masajids pledged $1000 each.

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Sheikh Moussa Drammeh, principal of the Islamic Cultural School, announced the formation of the Magassa-Soumare Family Fund,

371 E. 166th St., Bronx, N.Y. 10456

. Imam Drammeh said Gov. Eliot Spitzer was expected to meet with members of the Soumare and Magassa families today at The governor, as well as Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson, will speak to relatives at the mosque, where thousands of Muslims have been praying since word of the catastrophe spread. The NY Taxi federation also set up a fund and donations were being accepted on behalf of Soumare at the federation’s main office,

5911 Fourth Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11220

, or donors may call 718-492-7680. You can see more info. on this tragedy as well as a couple of news videos.

These deaths were written and part of Allah’s Qadr. However, it should not stop us from taking some reminders about the inevitability of death. We should also read this article in the NY Times, and learn from the fatal errors that contributed to the tragedy. Make sure your fire alarms have working batteries. Make sure you have a working fire-extinguisher at home. Never underestimate a fire, call 911 immediately. More info. on home fire-safety here and here.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").



  1. Scorpius

    March 11, 2007 at 4:39 AM

    What, you crowd a family of 6 and a family of 13 (and, most likely two other large Malinese famlies) in a dinky NYC townhouse (and, trust me, I’ve seen many and they are dinky) and you don’t expect a fire and death?

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  2. Amad

    March 11, 2007 at 6:31 AM

    We should be very careful of what we say, esp. with regards to events like this. Likely these people could not afford more housing (esp. in New York where a small shack rents for a fortune).

    Statements such as posted by Scorpius, sorry to say, are in poor taste and inappropriate. We should pray for the souls of these people. If the overcrowding is one of the lessons to take from it, fine, but there is a place and a way to point out things.

  3. inexplicabletimelessness

    March 11, 2007 at 6:51 AM

    As salaamu alaikum,

    Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon. Truly sad story but Qadar Allah wa masha’a fa’ala.

    JazakAllah khair for posting that link for the fire safety too. I definitely will take a look at it since about a year ago (lol) I almost literally burned the house down because inexperienced in cooking as I am, I was cooking a “salan” (Indo-Pak style curry) and I just turned my head for a while and when I look there is a huge flame *touching* the ceiling. It was horrifying but alhamdulillah we’re OK. :D

    Fire in general is a very scary thing, no wonder Allah made the punishment of the Hereafter fire. Today in Qabeelat Haadi (yay!)’s Almaghrib Usool alFiqh class Sheikh Yaser Birjas was mentioning that hadith from which it is established that only Allah punishes with fire, so we shouldn’t do that… So really, fire is scary and a horrible thing to encounter. May Allah save us all and protect us, ameen.

  4. Scorpius

    March 11, 2007 at 8:17 AM

    The problem isn’t “affordable housing” the problem is over breeding. Four reasonably sized families or couples could easily live in these tenements, but you have families the size of Magassa’s and you create a fire hazard, not to mention 11 new leeches on society.

  5. Amad

    March 11, 2007 at 4:32 PM

    Thanks Scorpius for letting your “objectivity’ and “humanity” shine through. Perhaps it isn’t this family you have an issue with. Perhaps it is a deeper ingrained xenophobia.

    Inexplicable: indeed fire is not a child’s play. I undertook some fire training several years ago at a a course held at Texas A&M, and it was probably the roughest time of my life. The drills and the ‘closeness’ to the fire and heat were enough to make you appreciate the ‘capabilities’ of ‘earthly fire’… and we should remember then, that the earthly fire is only a minuscule version of the hell-fire in terms of its “burning capabilities”. May Allah protect us from it.

  6. AnonyMouse

    March 11, 2007 at 7:59 PM

    Inaa lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon… to Allah we belong and to Him we return.

    Fire has always freaked me out, ever since I was a kid. Even when we have a fire going in our fire place I’m nervous about it! :S

    Scorpius, that was really just a plain nasty comment. Ever heard of something called empathy? What about good old human decency?

  7. nasir gudal

    March 13, 2007 at 12:33 AM

    Inna lillahi Wa inna ilaihi raaji’un

  8. Medinah

    March 13, 2007 at 7:00 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum,
    “From Allah we Come to Allah we shall Return”. Everything happens by the decree of Allah. It has nothing to do with overcrowding. Everyone needs a place to stay, so before any comments are made about anyones living conditions, should look at the situation and the facts first inshallah! Look at the people who are living on the street, with no roof over their heads, I personally have been there. Please think before you speak. I attended the Janazah of the family in the Bronx, I live in the Bronx, and I saw it up close the caskets of those babies, very sad mashallah. Anything can happen to either one of us on any given second, hour, minute, or day. It was just their time, and we ALL have a time written for us. May Allah help us, Ameen! Masalaams

  9. Amad

    March 13, 2007 at 7:33 PM

    JazakAllahkhair Medinah for the update and the closeup view of the Janazah. If you can give the readers more commentary on the Janazah experience, on who was there, etc. it would bring it closer to home.

    I hope everyone who could, has put in a donation, even if a small one. Just to show our solidarity with these families inshallah.

  10. Medinah

    March 14, 2007 at 5:34 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum,
    Hope you all are well inshallah. I did attend the Janazah on Monday, and it was very moving to say the least. This did not just affect the muslim community, it affected all of New York. I did not expect to see a lot of people there, but when I arrived there, the huge amount of people gathered together was amazing. There was no more space in the masjid, so everyone was outside, about three blocks long, subhanallah!! The outpouring of the whole community, and to see so many muslims together, mashallah brought tears to my eyes. You dont see too many muslims here like that, maybe only on Hajj, especiallay in a post 9/11 world, mashallah.
    The crowd included Hilary Clinton, Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion. Imam Siraj Wahaj from Masjid Taqwa who spoke also. Muslims from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manahattan, Queens came to make duaas and give donations, and come together. This made me think of all the negativity you see everywhere concerning the muslims, that day everyone saw how Islam is not an evil or terroristic religion, but a beautiful way of life. We all have a brother and sisterhood, that goes beyond blood relations,we are all brothers and sisters in islam.
    Allah is truly Merciful to us to grant us another day to worship Him, lets not take it for granted, for tomorrow someone will be at our Janazah making duaas for us. This was an experience for me, and a day I will never forget inshallah. Keep them in your duaas inshallah, and remember the destroyer of pleasures, “Death”.
    I have some pictures from the Janazah, is there anyway to upload them here, if not mashallah. Masalaams. May Allah bless All the Muslims, Ameen!

  11. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Eye-Witness Accounts of the Bronx Funeral


    April 28, 2007 at 8:07 PM

    It Costs less to Be Friends

    2008 Westchester avenue, bronx, new York 10462
    718- 792- 7222

    For immediate Release.

    Re: Students handing flowers to their heroes

    Adopt-A-Friend through its P.E.M.A. (Public Emergency Management Adherence) program is inviting all justice-loving individaul New Yorkers to join us on Monday, April 30, 2007 at 11:30AM in front of 109 Precinct in Flushing, Queens, to express our gratitude toward the efforts of our brave detectives in apprehending the potential suspect that robbed those gracious grandmothers of all New Yorkers.

    Even though innocent until a guilty plea, the efforts of the detectives in making sure that such a case never become cold case is the reason Adopt-A-Friend and its cosponsors want to show their appreciation. If you can not join us on Monday, please call or send letters and flowers of appreciation to 109 Precinct, for it is our duty to ensure that such a person does not freely exist in a civilize society, such as ours. We look forward to seeing you on Monday. The press is encouraged to come and help us send a clear message to other such criminals.

    Captain Ramirez
    109 Precinct
    37-05 Union Street,
    Flusing, Queens 11355
    718- 321- 2250

    Co sponsored by:
    Islamic Cultural Center of North America
    Bronx Clergy Task Force
    United African Congress
    Islamic Leadership School
    Muslim Family Services Coalition
    Masjid Al-Iman
    Amir International


    September 18, 2007 at 9:49 PM

    Islamic Leadership School
    2008 Westchester Avenue, Bronx NY 10462
    Tel. 718-892-5555/718-829-5555
    ﻪﺘﺎﮐﺭﺑﻭ ﷲﺍ ﺔﻤﺣﺭﻭ ﻡﻛﻴﻟﻋ ﻢﻼﺴﻟﺍ

    Finally, there is an Islamic Charter School in the Bronx which you can transfer your children into from other schools anytime, even during the school year.

    We offer:
    · First Islamic Charter School, 1 – 12th Grade.
    · Free transportation provided by Board of Education.
    · Only Halal meals & healthy beverages are allowed.
    · Qualified Teachers.
    · Stable leadership
    · Quranic Tajweed & Arabic Classes.
    · NYS Dept. of Education Approved Curriculum.
    · School Computers (online access)
    · 7 days a week religious classes.
    · All students and staff perform daily religious services together.
    · Students participate in community Leadership Programs.
    · Real discipline environment.
    · High Test Scores.

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