Mohamed-Aslim Zafis spent his final hours as he did numerous ones earlier than — volunteering at a northwest Toronto mosque and serving to these in want.
Zafis, 58, was remembered by family and friends at his funeral on Wednesday as a “sort, mild soul” who, even on the day he was killed, handed out meals to the hungry and labored to maintain his fellow worshippers secure.
“He was an unimaginable man,” Zafis’s nephew, Zahir Zafis, mentioned via tears.
“He by no means had any adverse ideas or phrases.”
A number of hundred mourners gathered within the parking zone of the Worldwide Muslim Group in Etobicoke to say goodbye to Zafis, simply metres away from the place he was stabbed to loss of life on Saturday night.
The assault — which police have mentioned bears many similarities to a different killing simply days earlier — occurred as Zafis was controlling entry to the mosque.
Had simply completed prayers earlier than assault
He had simply completed saying the sundown prayers earlier than he returned to his common submit outdoors the mosque, the place he ensured everybody who entered wore a masks and revered COVID-19 bodily distancing guidelines.
Imam Ayman Taher mentioned he chatted with Zafis simply minutes earlier than the assault, after they mentioned an area Syrian household who had simply misplaced a baby. Zafis had ready meals for the household, he instructed Taher, to assist them via the troublesome time.
Giving meals was vital Zafis, his buddies mentioned. He spent years volunteering at a close-by meals financial institution, getting ready hampers for the hungry, and not too long ago held a drive-through barbecue for youngsters earlier than they returned to high school, Taher mentioned.
He additionally stored candies in his pockets that he gave out to kids as a deal with.
Zafis was born in Guyana and nonetheless has many members of the family there, his nephews mentioned.
The parking zone on the mosque was a spot of affection for Zafis, mentioned Mustafa Farooq, the CEO of the Nationwide Council of Canadian Muslims.
“It was right here within the parking zone he’d sit together with his buddies and sip Pepsi with lemon slices,” Farooq mentioned.
“He’d distribute meals to the poor, to the needy, on this parking lot.”
‘Discovered peace and happiness’ in doing work of God
Imam Junaid Bhaiyat mentioned Friday morning shall be particularly troublesome.
Zafis despatched a message to him, and lots of others, each Friday between 12:15 a.m. and 12:23 a.m., like clockwork, wishing all “a blessed and blissful Friday.”
“Tomorrow evening I will look ahead to that message — and the week after that, and the week after that — and it isn’t going to come back,” Bhaiyat mentioned.
Zameer Zafis mentioned his uncle devoted a lot of his life to his religion.
“He discovered peace and happiness doing the work of Allah,” he mentioned.
“We additionally ask of you at the moment to wish that this particular person be delivered to justice, but additionally to forgive him for the sin that he has dedicated.”
Police nonetheless investigating motive
The pinnacle of the Toronto police murder squad mentioned Monday they don’t have any proof Zafis’s killing was motivated by hate, however acknowledged it’s a chance.
Insp. Hank Idsinga additionally mentioned police can’t low cost the murder could possibly be the work of a serial killer.
The mosque has urged its worshippers to stay vigilant of their environment.
“Nobody can intimidate us and forestall us from attending our place of worship,” Taher mentioned.
Supt. Ron Taverner instructed mourners police are working 24 hours a day to attempt to seize the killer.
“We’re taking each measure potential,” he mentioned.