The star reporter on the death of Riad Hamad is Ann Fowler. Her reports at the Oak Hill Gazette appear on Fridays. In this week’s report she talks to Ayman Suleiman.–gm
“Ayman Suleiman is one of the Palestinian youths helped by Hamad. He told the Gazette, ‘I first met Riad when I was in Hutto.’ Suleiman and his family were picked up by authorities and spent months in detention, awaiting deportation. ‘I was 16 at the time and I was about a month away from graduating early from high school, and going either Baylor med or SMU the next semester. That was what most bothered Riad and he had promised me that he will not only help get admittance to a medical university but will pay for my studies all the way through. I was brought to tears when I heard these words from him, for I was sure all the hard work and dreams of going to medical school had been shattered.’
“Remembered Suleiman, ‘[Hamad] got me a laptop to help me with finishing high school (which was from his organization) and he would call a lot here to check out how the family was doing and if there was anything we needed. Words could never describe Riad and his actions–he was a true hero.’
“Suleiman is one of those who will never accept the ruling of suicide. He said, ‘If there’s anything I do know it’s that Riad would never commit suicide. Why not? Because Riad was a very religious person. In Islam, suicide is something huge. Anyone who commits suicide in the Qur’an goes straight to hell. Why would a very religious man, who helps many children and people all over the world–with a very loving family and people all over the world that admire him–commit suicide?’ ”
Read the full story: “Memorial for Riad Hamad
Riad Hamad.” By Ann Fowler. Oak Hill Gazette (09.MAY.08).