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Lansing's Muslim community is raising funds for family of Afghan refugee who died Sunday

Elham Abdi
Islamic Society of Greater Lansing
The 23-year-old Abdi arrived in Lansing last year after being displaced from his home country of Afghanistan.

The Islamic Society of Greater Lansing is raising funds to cover the funeral costs of a refugee who died over the weekend.

Elham Abdi died Sunday after being struck by a car on I-496 near the Trowbridge exit. The 23-year-old arrived in Lansing last year after being displaced from his home country of Afghanistan. Upon arriving in 2022, Abdi was welcomed by the Islamic Society of Greater Lansing.

Thasin Sardir, a member of the organization’s Board of Trustees, says Abdi worked very hard at his job at General Motors and was trying to figure out a way to be reunited with his family.

“He was missing his family deeply, particularly his mom and sister, as he used to frequently talk about them,” he added.

Abdi worried a lot over his sister’s lack of access to education in Afghanistan. In March 2022, the Taliban banned Afghan girls from attending school past the sixth grade.

“He was emotionally distraught over it, and he was longing to go back to Afghanistan and his mom also was feeling sick, missing him at the same time,” Sardir said.

So far, the organization has raised more than $10,000 to repatriate Abdi’s body back to Afghanistan.

Those of Muslim faith are required to bury an individual as soon as possible and in the simplest way, according to religious traditions. However, the family wants to be able to see Abdi after not having seen him in over a year and a half.

“So, to that end, we are working on making arrangements for the repatriation of his body, granted the family cannot afford the costs,” Sardir added.

He says any additional money collected will go directly to Abdi’s family.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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