Updated 04/05/2009 08:34 PM
First ACA victims laid to rest
JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. -- It was a peaceful scene at the Islamic mosque Sunday as Parveen Ali and Layla Khalil were laid to rest in the first funeral service since Friday's tragic shooting. During the service, family members of the two women spoke about the life they shared with Ali and Khalil, a life that was cut short when they and 11 others were killed by Jiverly Wong in a mass shooting at the American Civic Association.
"She's a martyr. There's nothing we could do. She was an innocent person who got killed for no reason," said Nadar Ali, Parveen Ali’s brother.
"She just want to learn English more. She was innocent. She did nothing. But when the death happened, it really affect us. It affect everyone," said Mustafa Khalil, Layla Khalil’s son.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Parveen Ali came to America eight years ago from Pakistan. According to members at the ACA, Ali was trying to finish her GED. The middle child of three, Ali's younger brother, Nadar, remembers her as a caring person who always pushed him to do well.
"She was like a parent. She was like a friend. She was a teacher. She was a facilitator who always pushed me to go for school, to go to college, to be successful," Nadar Ali said.
While Parveen Ali was no stranger to the area, Layla Khalil lived in Binghamton for less than a year, coming to America seven months ago with her husband and three children. Originally from the war torn area of Iraq, the family came to the area hoping for a better life.
"The situation in Iraq is dangerous. Everywhere dangerous. But we hope, we came here on the hope we get better life, which was that place out of danger. Peaceful., everything is good. But situation has changed. Everything is changed. Life is life," Mustafa Khalil said.
It will take a long time for the families to cope with their loss, but they are relying on their faith to help them get through it.
"Faith plays a huge role in our lives. Faith was with us. It is and it will be with us. We are proud to be Muslims. We are proud to be in our community," said Nadar Ali.
Mustafa is a senior in high school and plans to graduate later this year. Even though he said he is disappointed that his mom won't be present at his graduation, he said he hopes to “make her proud.”