Ali Abucar Ali, who is said to be a British Muslim, lost his life last Friday while trying to save an 82-year-old woman. According to reports, Betty Walsh wasn’t too far from her home in West London’s Brentford neighborhood when she was assaulted by Norris Henry, who stabbed and punched her.
It is still unclear why Henry, 37, attacked the mother of six kids, three sons, and three daughters. But what has been evident is that 20-year-old Ali was willing to risk his life to rescue Walsh at the Kebab shop, where he was stabbed to death and died at the scene.
Ali, a Kingston University student who recently received a scholarship to play basketball, was about giving back to others, especially kids. Ali coached a boys’ basketball team at Chiswick Gators Basketball Club. On the night he lost his life, Ail, of Somali heritage, had just finished training his team.
Many of his students and those who know him were heartbroken and outranged. 40-year-old Michael Kwentoh was friends with Ali since age 13.
Ali’s students were between six and 10 years old, and by all accounts, he drilled the value of respect and integrity. “He made them feel like they were stars,” he said. “He’d just make you believe in you more than you believe in yourself,” Kwentoh told the site Al Jazeera.
“I will do my utmost best to live [even] a little bit like how Ali did, because even as a 40-year-old man, I feel like he taught me a lot about kindness and patience.” He added, “Ali was the most genuine, loyal, caring individual I’ve ever met in my life. He just didn’t deserve what happened to him. He was just so innocent, so pure.”
As for Henry, he will appear at London’s Central Criminal Court in February for a pretrial. Walsh remains in the hospital after undergoing kidney surgery. A GoFundMe page was arranged for Ali, and so for the contributions has a total of more than $120,000.
Although Ali is described as a hero, many in the Somali community are attacking the British media for what they believe is a lack of respect for not paying attention to Ali’s heritage. Yet, when Ali Harbi Ali murdered David Amess, last month emphasis was placed on Harbi Ail’s heritage.
Kareem Dennis known by his stage name ‘Lowkey’ who is a London-based musician and peace activist wrote on Twitter “When the killing of (MP) David Amess took place, the word ‘Somali’ was heavily emphasised in all news reports,”. He added, “Less than a month later, Ali Abucar Ali saves an 84-year-old woman and is killed in the process. The word Somali is not being mentioned at all, let alone emphasised anywhere.”
Professor Khaled Beydoun who spends time studying and researching Islamophobia joined in as well. “The young Muslim man is a hero. I wish the media were as keen to cover the stories of Muslim heroes like Ali, as they are (keen to cover) the “terrorists”, he wrote on Twitter.
25-year-old Ali Harbi Ali identified himself with the Islamic State group (ISIL) when he killed British Member of Parliament David Amess. Amess, 69, held a meeting at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, south Essex, when Ali stepped into the church in broad daylight and stabbed him. Shortly after Amess’ death, police associated the murder as a “terrorist incident.” The investigation was turned over to the Terrorism Command.