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Columbus, Ohio

Services held at mosque for teen student murdered in drive-by shooting

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BLACKLICK, Ohio — The Waggoner Grove subdivision was quieter Tuesday evening than it was 24 hours after a 15-year-old was gunned down in his neighbor’s driveway. That’s because neighbors, friends, and family were attending the service for Mohamed Abdulkadir at a mosque on Mock Road at 5 p.m.

The boy’s nickname was “Honey Bun” and friends remember him as a good kid who liked to be around family and play games.

One hundred yards from the crime scene where Abdulkadir’s body lay dead underneath a sheet Monday is a church where the teen used to go to play basketball.

Pastors at Eastpointe Christian Church remember seeing Abdulkair on the court with his friends. “He was fun. A decent ball player and very respectful,” said family pastor Andre Norman. “We want to be a light to this community. We know that God has called us not only to this community but make disciples of all nations.”

The neighborhood has a lot of children. Many of the families in the area are refugees from Somalia. Abdi Farah knew the victim and said he was a fun loving kid who wasn’t supposed to die that day. “For sure I want to see an arrest. Whoever did this needs to pay for it,” said Farah.

The homeowner who lives in the house where the drive-by happened on Churchside Chase Drive said she is afraid for her six children. She said her 17-year-old son had been suspended earlier in the day after a fight at the school. Two other boys were also suspended she said for ten days. “It was a fight,” said Farah. “I don’t know why people bring guns to fights.”

Pastor Dan Stoffer said their church wants to be a bridge to the Somali community who may be feeling isolated and afraid. “We want to do whatever we can to help in the midst of this tragedy, to love on the family, take care of the kids, just kind of be that center of hope and love for our community,” said Stoffer.

The district issued a written statement from Supt. Philip Wagner:

It has been a difficult day for the school district as we are working together to ensure our students and staff are supported during this time. Our hearts especially go out to the family impacted by this tragedy.

Today and for the next few days, we will have additional counselors and teachers available at all school buildings for students and staff who are grieving. Additionally, we will continue to work to find ways for students to feel safe and supported at school. We want all to know that our first priority is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all students to learn.

As with all tragedies, we could use your help. If you have any information about the events surrounding yesterday afternoon or any issues that have developed due to the events, please report them to the confidential tipline, Safer Ohio at (844) 723-3764. We have been working with the Columbus Police department to share information that assists with their investigation.

Finally, all Licking Heights events scheduled for Tuesday, September 19, 2017 for all schools will remain as scheduled. While this is a difficult time for our school district, we feel the reinforcement of a sense of normalcy is beneficial for our students. Furthermore, there will be an increased staff and security presence at school events as a means of support for all of our attendees.

Philip H. Wagner, Ph.D.

So far police aren’t talking about any suspects or motive in the case. This is the 95th Homicide of 2017 in Columbus.

The family has started a Go Fund Me account for burial expenses.

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Columbus, Ohio

Hoyo’s Kitchen Wants To Be Columbus’ Gateway To Somali Culture

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At Hoyo’s Kitchen, Angie Sharkey says she likes a little of everything.

Sharkey, who came with two colleagues from the Columbus Metropolitan Library, says they’re regulars here. When owner Abdilahi Hassan comes around to take her order, she tells him, “Surprise me.”

Tucked into a nondescript Cleveland Avenue strip mall, between an Irish pub and “Waterbeds and Stuff,” Hoyo’s Kitchen has the curious honor of being the city’s only “fast casual” Somali restaurant.

In fact, it’s one of the few Somali restaurants here at all – surprising for the city with the second-largest population of Somali refugees in the country.

In the three years since it opened, though, Hoyo’s already earned a devoted following in Columbus – and expanded a lot of appetites. The food website Eater recently called Hoyo’s one of the “Midwest’s 38 Essential Restaurants.” It was the only Columbus establishment to even make the list.

Mother’s Kitchen

Over the past decade and a half, tens of thousands of Somali refugees settled in Columbus, mostly on the city’s North Side. Hassan, 29, is one of them, after moving with his family to Columbus from the D.C. area 14 years ago.

But food’s always been on his mind.

“I love my mother’s cooking,” Hassan says. “I grew up basically hyping my mom up. Every time she would make something different, I’d be like, ‘Yeah, if only you’d open up a restaurant, people would be flocking.'”

After graduating from Ohio State in 2014, Hassan convinced his mother to open a restaurant with him. Quickly, it became a family endeavor.

“Everyone from my nieces and nephews to my grandparents jumped into the kitchen when we really need them,” Hassan says. “From the very beginning, this was an homage to my mother’s kitchen.”

“Hoyo,” Hassan explains, means “mother” in Somali.

Hayat Dalmar, 56, is the mother of restaurant owner Abdilahi Hassan and the head cook of Hoyo’s Kitchen.
CREDIT GABE ROSENBERG / WOSU

Not So Scary

Just after the lunch rush, Hassan’s mother Hayat Dalmar, 56, is back in the kitchen. She pulls from the oven a large pot of rice, bright orange from the spices.

“I brought my kitchen from my house to this restaurant,” Dalmar says, laughing.

Of all her dishes – goat, chicken, chai – she says rice is by far her favorite to cook.

“I like rice because my mother, she used to be a great cooker and I think I took it from her, and I have the passion,” Dalmar says. “I like to make rice.”

Hassan says certain aspects of Somali food still seem “exotic” to Americans. Goat, especially.

“There’s a lot of people that are scared of Somali food,” he says. “Or just scared of trying something different.”

But a lot of Somali food might be more familiar than people think. Hassan explains Somali food is an “organic fusion,” combining flavors from Indian, Middle Eastern and East African cuisines. Dishes like chabatti, a flat bread, or ugali, a sort of corn porridge, have versions all over the world.

Hoyo’s Kitchen serves a Somali chai tea, flavored with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, spicier than the kind served in most coffee shops. And they’re well-known for their sambusas, the Somali version of an Indian samosa: fried and triangular-shaped pastries.

“Everybody loves sambusa,” Hassan says. “That’s like our gateway drug. That’s our gateway into Somali food.”

The main difference between sambusas and samosas, Hassan says, is beef.

“Somalis are meat eaters, so ours has meat in it,” he says. “We don’t mess with veggies.”

Around Columbus, Hassan has graduated from hyping his mother’s food to hyping Somali food in general. He wants Hoyo’s Kitchen to be a sort of ambassador, which is also why he embraced the label of “fast casual.”

Columbus boasts a glut of “fast casual” restaurants, which split the difference between fast food and casual dining. Chipotle is the most famous, but Columbus has plenty of local “fast casual” chains like Fusian, 6-1-Pho and Bibibop.

“I’m a student of the game,” Hassan says. “You know, I studied the industry.”

By breaking down Somali dishes into parts, Hassan hopes to make it more approachable – for white people, for African-Americans, and just for everyone who hasn’t encountered this particular cuisine. They’ve made headway on that part, something Hassan credits to Columbus Food Adventures, which brings a tour by every Friday night.

Hassan, though, has big ideas for what Hoyo’s Kitchen could be.

“We want to be the bridge between our Somali community and the larger American population,” Hassan says.

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Columbus, Ohio

Central Ohio’s Somali community mourns deadly attack

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — Somalis who call Central Ohio home are mourning an attack considered the deadliest in their native country.

On Saturday, a truck bomb killed more than 300 people in the capital city of Mogadishu.

Somali-Americans living in Central Ohio went to a north Columbus mosque with a clear message on the violence.

“Pray for the victims and number two, condemn with the strongest term what happened in Mogadishu,” explained Horsed Nooh, director of the Abubakar Assidiq Islamic Center.

For Nooh, Saturday’s deadly attack strikes close to home.

“I lost some family members. I lost some friends. Many of them were the brightest minds from Columbus. They grew up here, they graduated from these schools and they went back to contribute.”

Sharif-Ali Hashim also has loved ones in the African capital city. He said while they’re physically fine, emotionally they are hurting.

“My brothers, I have my sisters, relatives, friends, I talked with them and everybody and some of them they were in tears,” said Hashim.

Hashim explained people are turning to their faith to comfort their pain.

“Without faith, you cannot move.”

Currently, members of Central Ohio’s Somali community are working on a fundraiser to help attack victims and their families.

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Columbus, Ohio

Central Ohio Somali community fears being targeted after teen’s murder

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BLACKLICK (WCMH) — Was a local teen murdered because he’s Somalian? The Council for American-Islamic Relations, also known as CAIR, said in the wake of the shooting, many in the Somali community fear they’re being targeted.

Police haven’t ruled 15-year-old Mohamed Abdulkadir’s death a hate crime, but CAIR said after the shooting, many Somali families are worried they’ll be attacked because of their ethnicity.

NBC4 spoke with a Somali family in the neighborhood where the shooting happened. They said being Somalian had nothing to do with Abdulkadir’s death.

Suheyb Ahmed, 13, is having a hard time coping with the loss of his life-long friend.

“I was like, ‘It’s not possible, he can’t be dead. Like, it was somebody else. Maybe they were just confused,’” he said.

Suheyb and his mother Khadra didn’t want to show their faces on camera. They said Abdulkadir, who lived across the street, was like family.

“We were really close friends. He lives right there. We would always go play soccer or football or basketball together,” said Suheyb.

The Ahmed’s have lived in the Blacklick neighborhood for 14 years.

“I love this neighborhood and we don’t have any problems,” said Khadra.

They said they’ve never felt targeted at home or school.

“This issue is not for hate or racist, this is something came from the kids. We feel safe,” said Khadra.

Romin Iqbal, with CAIR Columbus said Somali families he spoke with in the neighborhood don’t feel the same.

”There’s a lot of fear in the community, in the Somali community,” said Iqbal.

He said they’re scared and that another Somali student was threatened after the shooting.

“I’ve been told that parents are not letting their children go outside and play in the park outside their homes,” said Iqbal.

Iqbal said he’s forwarded the information he’s gathered to the FBI and police.

Suheyb just started 8th grade. He said he loves school. Life just won’t be the same without Abdulkadir.

“He was at the wrong place wrong time,” he said.

The Licking Heights School District said CAIR told it about the alleged threat against a student Tuesday.

It said it will continue to work with police and said dozens of students have been interviewed as part of the ongoing investigation.

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