Islamic Center of East Lansing seeks donations for burial of refugee killed on I-496

“It is our duty to try and help anyone who knocks at our door.”
Updated: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:00 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A life taken too soon, 23-year-old Elham Abdi was walking home when he was struck by a vehicle and killed on I-496 near the Trowbridge Road exit. Abdi was a refugee from Afghanistan and had been in America for only one year.

Background: One man killed in Sunday night Ingham County crash

Elham Abdi left behind his family and everything he knew to come to America for a better life. He found it working for General Motors, but his time was short-lived. The Islamic Center of East Lansing Board Member Thasin Sarder said he was shocked when he heard about his death.

“He had left his room, his roommates were frantically looking for him,” Sarder recalled. “They contacted the police and the next thing they knew and were informed he was struck by a vehicle.”

Mohammed Salim Amri said that his friend was troubled the night of the accident after getting calls from home. Amri said the conditions in Afghanistan are bad and Abdi would get calls from his sister wanting to go to school.

“I know in my country it’s bad situations Change of government, Taliban, he was telling me about our family,” Amri said. “His sister goes to school, and the school is closed now. She all time talks to her brother about ‘Brother, I want to go to college,’ but there is no college or school in my country.”

Sarder wants to make sure Abdi receives a proper burial. In their faith, burial must happen quickly and simply.

“It is our duty to try and help anyone who knocks at our door, and to that end when we got this call that the situation happened,” Sarder said. “Our instant reaction was we would take care of everything.”

Although Abdi didn’t have family in the United States, Lansing has shown support with hundreds of people offering condolences and making donations.

The Islamic Society of Greater Lansing is accepting donations for funeral arrangements. The family has also set up an additional GoFundMe.

Read next:

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.