Friends and co-workers gathered in the gymnasium of a Bloomington mosque on Sunday evening to memorialize 50-year-old Ahmed Eyow, who was killed in last week's bombing in Mogadishu.
Eyow was in Somalia for a short trip when the truck bomb exploded on Oct. 14, killing more than 350 people. His family said his body was found in the rubble of his hotel.
Speakers at Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center, including Eyow's cousin Ali Farah, stood at a lectern beneath a basketball hoop to remember him and request support for his family.
"Ahmed was very kind, maybe I'd say the kindest, the gentlest and the most compassionate person I've ever known," Farah said. "It is a sad day for all of us. We lost a great man. We lost a father, a husband, a family man."
Eyow worked as a welder with Lutalo Bowens for more than a decade. Bowens described him as someone who not only worked hard, but shared his happiness with co-workers.
"If you know Ahmed, you know he wasn't loud, he didn't seek out attention, he wasn't boisterous or flamboyant in any particular way," Bowens said. "But if you were around him and you caught a glimpse of his smile, you could not help but to smile back."
Leaders of the mosque Eyow attended have launched an online fundraiser for Eyow's family, with the goal of helping them pay off their home, said Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota Executive Director Jaylani Hussein. The fundraiser had raised almost $15,000 as of Sunday night.
"We're going to turn this unfortunate tragedy also into an opportunity for our community," Hussein said. "An opportunity today to support his family, but also to support his dreams and some of the things that Ahmed really wanted to do."