London, United Kingdom – A young British Muslim who died while reportedly trying to save the life of an elderly woman is being hailed as a hero.
Ali Abucar Ali, 20, is said to have stepped in last Friday to help Betty Walsh, 82, who had been stabbed and punched outside a kebab shop near her home in West London’s Brentford neighbourhood. It was also a stone’s throw from Ali’s childhood home.
A Kingston University student with Somali heritage, Ali coached a boy’s team at Chiswick Gators Basketball Club.
The incident took place hours after what would be his last coaching session.
A GoFundMe page set up to make charitable donations in Ali’s honour surpassed 90,000 pounds ($120,000) in just two days.
Michael Kwentoh, a former junior international basketball player who founded the Gators club, met Ali when he was 13.
“Ali was the most genuine, loyal, caring individual I’ve ever met in my life,” Kwentoh told Al Jazeera.
This is Ali Abucar Ali who was killed while trying to save an elderly woman’s life in a knife attack in Brentford a few days ago. He was just 20. He has hardly made the news. He deserves more #AliAbucarAli pic.twitter.com/L2ZojMXjKp
— Rachel Parris (@rachelparris) November 15, 2021
It came as no surprise to the Kwentoh that Ali tried to help the elderly woman.
“He just didn’t deserve what happened to him. He was just so innocent, so pure,” said Kwentoh.
The boys Ali coached, aged between six and 10, Kwentoh added, will remember his kindness and the passion he instilled in them for the sport.
“He made them feel like they were stars,” he said. “He’d just make you believe in you more than you believe in yourself.”
The GoFundMe page created in his honour also pays tribute to Ali’s kindheartedness.
“We lost a dear brother, the most caring, humble, funniest young man,” it reads.
The suspect, Norris Henry, 37, appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Monday, charged with both the murder of Ali and attempted murder of Walsh, the BBC reported.
He will appear at London’s Central Criminal Court on Wednesday.
Walsh remains in hospital, after undergoing kidney surgery.
He saved a life losing his own. 😭
Ali Abucar Ali, a 20 year old Muslim boy who was stabbed to death while rescuing an elderly white woman in her 80s during a knife attack in West London
Your stereotypical terrorist actually your hero.
Remember this next time you stereotype. pic.twitter.com/L10yeVzBOx
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) November 14, 2021
Kwentoh is planning a vigil in honour of Ali, to be held this Saturday. It will take place in a park near the scene of the incident.
“I will do my utmost best to live [even] a little bit like how Ali did, because even as a 40-year old man, I feel like he taught me a lot about kindness and patience,” said Kwentoh.
He saved one life and lost his own yet Ali Abucar Ali barely made the news. https://t.co/wkWPfBYhgt
— Nadifa Mohamed (@thesailorsgirl) November 14, 2021