By Ibrahim Hirsi, St. Cloud Times
Hamza Elmi, the 6-year-old whose body was found last week near the Mississippi River, was buried in a Muslim-only section of the North Star Cemetery in St. Cloud.
“Hamza left us all,” said an emotional Hassan, whose reddened eyes attested to almost three sleepless and tearful days. “That’s all I can say for now.”
Almost 300 men huddled around Hamza’s grave to mourn and bury the autistic and nonverbal Madison Elementary School student, whose pink scooter led him to his tragic demise after he slipped away from home last Thursday night.
An overnight search by community members and police ended Friday when Hamza was found dead just 10 to 15 feet off the west bank of the river.
Although Muslims traditionally bury their deceased within 24 hours, the post-mortem examination, also known as autopsy, delayed the process: He was found Friday morning and was laid to rest Saturday afternoon.
“It’s encouraged to bury the body as soon as possible,” said Mohamed Nuh Dahir, an imam with the Islamic Center of St. Cloud. “But it’s fine if the body isn’t buried right away because of medical examination.”
Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.
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