Abdullah Hassan was laid to rest on Saturday afternoon on December 29, 2018, at the California Islamic Cemetery in Lodi. Abdullah was two years old, and he suffered a degenerative brain condition and passed after being taken off of life support late Friday evening.
The friends and members of the community came together to offer prayers and condolences to the family in a heartfelt ceremony and Janazah. The Janazah, which is an obligatory prayer that a group must perform to seek pardon on behalf of the deceased, was held at the Lodi California Islamic Center Mosque.
Members of the community grieved as Ali Hassan, the father of Abdullah, offered an emotional speech to all that attended his son’s funeral.
“I am a US citizen; my son is a US citizen the Muslim ban kept my wife from coming here for over a year,” said Hassan, “The ban forced me to chose between my son’s health and keeping my family together.”
Abdullah’s illness gained national media attention after his mother Shaima Swileh, who is from Yemen, was prohibited from entering the United States due to the travel ban implemented by the Trump Administration.
Swileh spent months pleading with officials, at the United States Embassy in Egypt, where she waited while her son sought medical care in the U.S.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, Sacramento Valley office (CAIR-SV) produced a writ of mandamus on the mother’s behalf to ask the courts to force the government to decide and expedite their response to the mother’s request for a ban waiver.
Swileh was given a visa into the country on December 18, 2018, and traveled directly from the San Francisco International Airport to visit her son at The University of California San Francisco Medical Center Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, where he was receiving treatment.
“We are angry but we know our son did not die in vain, we hope through Abdullah’s struggle and passing, that the policies will change and families will be reunited,” said Hassan.
He thanked the Muslim Community and The Council on American-Islamic Relations, Sacramento Valley office (CAIR), for their support, and for helping the family come together.
“It is good to see everyone come together, but it breaks my heart that these are the circumstances,” said Taj Khan, the president of the Lodi California Islamic Center Mosque.
For many Muslims in the community the extent of the travel ban and the impacts of the ban had not been realized.
“You hear these stories on the news, and the effects of it do not register until you see it for yourself,” said Lodi native and the Board Secretary at the Mosque Muhammad Rasool.
Rasool expressed how tragic a situation like this would be for anyone to have to experience, primarily due to Abdullah’s age.
Ayesha Zulfiqar, a Stockton native who was at the Mosque, expressed anguish at the situation, and the political footing that had materialized as a result of the ban.
“As a mother I could not fathom being in that position, the whole thing is just so hard to grasp,” Zulfiqar stated, “My heart weeps for the mother, because she did not get to spend time with her son, being in a hospital is not how a mother should remember her child”.
Zulfiqar, whose teenage daughter was also in attendance, expressed that the reality of the ban spotlights how terrifying people’s outlook towards one another has become.
For full story see Tuesday's paper.