When those we know and love leave and depart to their Lord, parts of us leave with them too; our memories with them and the shared good deeds they left behind.
Our Muslim and Arab society woke up on the morning of Sunday, the twenty-first of January 2024, to the tragedy of the killing of the Kassem family, may God have mercy on them; (Majeda, Zahia, Halema, and Hanan). To Allah we belong to Him we shall return.
The twins Zahia and Halema were girls who volunteered at The Prayer Center in the weekly Story Night program for young primary school children. Halema was very talented in henna design and was asked to many of the masjid celebrations to draw henna for the girls.
There is no doubt that the way the mother and her three daughters were killed left us all shocked and astonished by the horror of the incident, especially since the perpetrator was the father of these daughters! (لا حول ولا قوة الا بالله). The father’s role is the one who should be a protector for his daughters from the evils and harm of the people around them, but for the father to become the one accused of murder, is a misfortune upon a misfortune, and the incident is painful for everyone.
I am not here to analyze the facts of the incident, its motives or causes, as the police and criminal investigations are responsible for that, but here I would like to point out the following:
We, as Imams and Mosque representatives, strongly condemn domestic violence of any kind. Our homes should not be a boiling pot for domestic violence, let alone a place for the shedding of blood and taking of life that God Almighty has forbidden. What happened does not represent our religion or our beliefs and Islam is vehemently opposed to such actions.
Our condolences go out to our community on the killing of our sisters and daughters, especially to their families, friends, and everyone who knew them from our honorable society.
We, as imams of the Prayer Center of Orland Park, will be available for any type of psychological and spiritual counseling for those who need it, especially those close to the victims, may God have mercy on them.
We will embark on a series of awareness-raising activities that will draw attention to the prohibition of shedding blood in Islam, the prohibition of domestic violence, the value of security and safety in our homes, and an explanation of the mission of parents in caring for their sons and daughters in a way that pleases God Almighty.
We ask God Almighty to have mercy on our sisters Majeda, Halema, Zahia and Hanan and to make their abode in the Garden of Bliss. Ameen.
By Imam Kifah Mustapha