By Muhammad Atef | April 9, 2021

Hundreds gather at Islamic prayer service to mourn family of 6 found dead in Allen home

As hundreds of people gathered for funeral prayers Thursday at the Islamic Association of Allen, the magnitude of the loss was hard for the crowd to fathom.

A father and mother, a grandmother, a sister and two brothers — all gone.

“This is not just one family’s loss and one family’s tragedy,” said Imam Abdur Rahman Bashir, the association’s community religious director. “It is our tragedy. It is our loss.”

Altafun Nessa, 77, Iren Islam, 56, Towhidul Islam, 54, Tanvir Towhid, 21, and Farbin Towhid and Farhan Towhid, both 19, were found dead in their home early Monday. Authorities think the two brothers, Tanvir and Farhan, killed the others, then themselves on Saturday.

“There are many of us sitting here who have attended the janazah of their parents, of their children, of their loved ones,” Bashir said, using the Arabic word for an Islamic funeral prayer. “And no janazah is an easy one. This janazah is no exception. The aftershocks of this janazah have reached far beyond the geography of Allen, but we feel the pain and the deepest cut here.”

Mourners joined together in religous chants and a daily call to prayer, during which many in the crowd kneeled on rugs to show humility before God.

Mourners pray at the services Thursday at the Islamic Association of Allen for the family of six who died in an apparent murder-suicide in Allen.
Mourners pray at the services Thursday at the Islamic Association of Allen for the family of six who died in an apparent murder-suicide in Allen.(Lynda M. González / Staff Photographer)

Before the call to prayer, three friends of Farbin Towhid, who was a student at New York University, urged everyone to honor her memory.

“There’s nobody who’s going to be quite like Farbin again, but that’s OK,” Amila Haque said. “How she’s touched our lives will make her unforgettable for all who had the utmost privilege of knowing her.”

Another friend, Nina Rao, called her “one of the most pure-hearted individuals I’ll ever meet.”

“She was one of the best friends you could ever have,” Pranathi Golkonda added.

After the funeral prayer, a procession of pallbearers carried the six caskets to hearses waiting nearby. All of the family members were to be buried at a Muslim cemetery in Denton.

Fareen Mosaddeque, 27, had traveled to Allen from Arizona to attend the prayer service. A Richardson native who, like the family members who died, is Bengali, she said news of their deaths had reached everywhere.

She noted that many non-Muslims attended Thursday’s service.

”It was nice that people from different cultures came and were able to see that when it matters we’re here for our community,” she said. “We knew that, but I’m glad that people from outside the community came and were able to see that.”

Mosaddeque said she hopes the tragedy starts conversations about topics such as mental health and depression that have sometimes been taboo.

”I feel like any one of these people — if anything happened everyone would be there for one of us,” she said. “So I feel like it’s the least we can do is come out and support them when they need it.”

Lifelines of support

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 24-hour crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Confidential online chat is available at suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Crisis Text Line: 24-hour support by texting HOME to 741741. More information at crisistextline.org

North Texas Behavioral Health Authority: 24-hour crisis hotline at 1-866-260-8000 or go to ntbha.org

Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas: Speak to a trained counselor on the 24-hour hotline at 214-828-1000 or 800-273-8255 or go to sccenter.org

Here For Texas Mental Health Navigation Line: Grant Halliburton Foundation initiative that connects North Texans with mental-health resources customized to each caller at 972-525-8181 or go to HereForTexas.com

Dallas Metrocare Services: For help, call 1-877-283-2121 or go to metrocareservices.org



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