Groups Gather in Praise
of Heroic Muslim Cabbie
By Tom Beal
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
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
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)