Groups Gather in Praise of Heroic Muslim Cabbie
By Tom Beal


Islam Abusida is comforted by a friend outside the Islamic Center of Tucson after a service for his father. -Photo by A.E. Araizai/Arizona Daily Star

The family of Dawud Isa Abusida, and three diverse groups of people who consider him a brother, gathered at the Islamic Center of Tucson on Friday to mourn his loss, pray for his soul and praise the heroic actions he took in the final moments of his life.
One group, members of the Sunni Muslim community at the mosque Abusida attended regularly, responded to prayers chanted in Arabic and listened to Imam Mohammed Elfarooqui proclaim in Arabic and English that the best death is that met "in doing deeds that benefit humanity."
Translating from the Qur’an, Elfarooqui said: "For those who believe and do good, we will certainly give them abode in the high place in Paradise, beneath which rivers flow."
Sheriff's Sgt. Terry Parish represented the second group, the Pima County Sheriff's Department, which was out in force "to pay its respect to a hero."
Abusida died Wednesday trying to help Deputy Timothy Graham arrest Aaron Sawyers. The three men were struck and killed by a truck as they struggled and fell into the path of traffic on Ajo Way near Kinney Road. He said Abusida, in giving his life while trying to aid Graham, had become a brother to him as well. "We consider him a fallen comrade who put his life on line and ultimately lost it. His courage should be an example to us all," Parish said.
Abusida was also mourned by his brothers and sisters who drive cabs, several of which joined the procession from the university-area Islamic center to the All Faiths Memorial Park on Tucson's East Side, where Abusida's body was laid to rest immediately after the brief prayers for the dead.
Abusida drove cabs for a variety of companies in Tucson over two decades and had just started his own taxi company two months before his death.
Squad cars and motorcycles from the Sheriff's Department and the Tucson and Oro Valley police departments escorted the motorcade of Abusida.
Graham's family was represented at the service by his mother, Judy, who told Parish she came because she wanted to thank and give her condolences to the family, particularly Abusida's wife, Seham.
Dr. Zachariah Azar, president of the Muslim Student Association, urged wide dissemination of the story of Abusida's heroism to counter media images of Muslims as terrorists. He said Abusida represents the true face of American Islam: "A Muslim who sacrificed his life for a non-Muslim." (Courtesy ARIZONA DAILY STAR)


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.