Hundreds of people mourned the Somali Bantu cab driver who died after he was beaten in Beltzhoover, offering a solemn prayer Sunday afternoon at the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh.
While two of the four suspects were still at large, many at the Oakland mosque helped to pay for funeral expenses for Ramadhan Mohamed, 31, of Northview Heights, whose wife, Khadija Mohamed, and 2-year-old son remain in Kenya. An online tally showed contributions topping $13,500 for a listed fundraising goal of $10,000.
The collection through the LaunchGood website will continue, with proceeds also going to Mr. Mohamed’s family — his wife is eight months pregnant — and the students in Northview Heights to whom he taught the Quran, Imam Abdul Wajid said. He said the attack Tuesday has put the local Muslim community “a little more on our toes.”
“It’s a little tense. But at the same time, it’s brought us together. There’s a sense of community and unity,” said Imam Wajid, who leads the Islamic Center. “We’re hoping justice is served and the community can take a little bit of ease and comfort in the law — and hope that this doesn’t repeat itself.”
Police have charged four men with luring Mr. Mohamed to the 400 block of Climax Street and beating him. Two of them, King Edwards and Hosea Moore, both 20, of Beltzhoover were arrested Friday. Two others, Daniel Russell, 19, and Christen Glenn, 18, remained at large Sunday. Police have said the suspects intended to rob Mr. Mohamed.
Mr. Mohamed, a Somali native and a member of the Bantu ethnic minority there, died Friday from blunt force trauma to the head, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office. It ruled his death a homicide. Homicide charges are likely to be added.
The Mohamed family didn’t speak immediately with reporters Sunday. But “I’m sure they want whoever has done this to be brought to justice, no matter what happened,” said Omar Muya, community programs director at the Somali Bantu Community Association of Pittsburgh.
He praised the police investigation and thanked Western Pennsylvanians who have offered “wonderful” support. The online collection is at launchgood.com/ramadhan. At the same time, Mr. Muya said other cab drivers from Somalia are now considering different work.
“I’m thinking a lot of people may feel Pittsburgh is not safe,” he said.
City police have said there’s no evidence that Mr. Mohamed’s nationality motivated the incident, although an investigation continues. In a statement Friday, his family said the possibility of a hate crime shouldn’t be ruled out until the review is done.
A number of his relatives were among more than 500 people who attended the funeral prayer Sunday at the mosque and burial afterward at Chartiers Cemetery in Carnegie, said Wasi Mohamed, executive director at the Islamic Center. He is not related to Ramadhan Mohamed. A service was held earlier in the day at the John N. Elachko Funeral Home in Oakland.
The funeral prayer at the mosque, known as a Janazah prayer, followed the regular noon prayer. Those gathered also mourned Mirza Hamzic, 87, a Bosnian refugee who died of natural causes, Wasi Mohamed said.