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Community gathers to mourn seven children who lost their lives in Halifax house fire

Nearly one-hundred people came to the Glasgow Square Theatre on Thursday, February 21 to pay respects and honour to the seven children who died in a house fire that happened in Halifax on Tuesday.
Nearly one-hundred people came to the Glasgow Square Theatre on Thursday, February 21 to pay respects and honour to the seven children who died in a house fire that happened in Halifax on Tuesday. - Brendan Ahern

The Glasgow Square Theater was dimly lit and welcoming to the nearly 100 people who came through the snow in support for the Barho family on Thursday, Feb. 21.

On Tuesday, Feb 19 an early-morning fire spread quickly through their home. Seven children died in the fire.

They had come to Canada from Syria in September 2017.

Their father, Ebraheim Barho remains in critical condition in hospital. Their mother, Kawthar Barho, was treated for less serious injuries, but remains in hospital.

“Everyone who has a child fears that they may outlive them. To lose so many in this manner is beyond heat breaking,” said Dr. Tim El-Tahan who is the chairperson of the Pictou County’s Muslim Community. “In Islam, we believe that any child who passes is guaranteed a place in heaven. This helps soften the tragedy ever so slightly knowing that they will be safe in paradise forever now.”

On Thursday, Feb 21 El-Tahan was joined on the stage in Glasgow Square by Abdulkair Casim who first arrived in Pictou County with his family in 2017. Translating for Casim was Dr. Marwan Tolba, who also led the theatre in prayer, and Rev. Donna Tourneur who spoke on behalf of the refugee sponsorship groups in Pictou County.

“Although little brings a community together like a tragedy, we don’t need tragedy to be a community,” said Tourneur. “All of us are better when we work together and when we lift each other up. There is an opportunity to show that these children have brought us together. May that be their legacy, none of us need walk alone.”

The children’s names were: Ahmad, 14; Rola, 12; Mohamad, 9; Ola, 8; Hala, 3; Rana, 2 and Abdullah, four-months-old.

A vigil also took place at the Grand Parade outside of city hall in Halifax on Wednesday. There, Natalie Horne, of the Hants East Assisting Refugees Team Society which sponsored the Barho family described the personalities of the children.

“Ahmad, the oldest, was a jokester who had the best sense of humor, and like many 14-year-old boys, he loved girls. Rola, who was 12, was a little mother to all of the children and she excelled academically and wanted so much to do well in school. Mohamad was an excellent athlete, Ola loved to dance, Hala had a big personality, Rana was sweet and Abdullah was adored by his mother,” said Horne on Wednesday.

A GoFundMe campaign has raised over $500,000 with a $1-million goal.

Books of condolences for the Barho family will be made available to anyone wishing to sign at Pictou United Church on Sunday afternoon between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m.

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