LODI (CBS/BCN/AP/KPIX) — A 2-year-old boy whose Yemeni mother successfully fought the Trump administration’s travel ban to be able to visit her child before he died has been buried in Lodi after a funeral Saturday afternoon.
Abdullah Hassan had a genetic brain disorder and died Friday at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, where he was on life support.
His mother from Yemen, Shaima Swileh, arrived in San Francisco on Dec. 19 after getting a visa, a little over a week before her son’s death.
The boy’s father, Ali Hassan, is a U.S. citizen who lives in Stockton.
Hassan and 100s of members of the Islamic community prayed at the funeral for Abdullah and listened to remarks from Muhammad Younus, imam of the California Islamic Center in Lodi.
The casket, covered by a white and green cloth, was carried in and the men in attendance could touch it before it was taken to a nearby cemetery and buried. In Muslim tradition, a body must be buried within 72 hours of death.
Hassan and his wife moved to Egypt after marrying in war-torn Yemen in 2016. Swileh is not an American citizen and remained in Egypt as she fought for a visa for over a year so the family could move to the United States.
Citizens from Yemen and four other mostly-Muslim countries, along with North Korea and Venezuela, are restricted from coming to the United States under President Trump’s travel ban.
When the boy’s health worsened, the father went ahead to California in October to get their son help. As the couple fought for a waiver, doctors put Abdullah on life support.
The Council on American Islamic Relations, known as CAIR, went to court and obtained an emergency visa so she could be with her son just before he died.
CAIR Civil Rights Attorney, Saad Sweilem explained the seriousness of the situation.
“They were very close to the unimaginable, having to be separated while their baby dies,” said Sweilem. “We’re very relieved that didn’t happen but at the same time, I think all of us start thinking that, if this Muslim ban wasn’t in place to begin with, Abdullah and his mother would have been here together over a year ago.’
“We are heartbroken. We had to say goodbye to our baby, the light of our lives,” said Abdullah’s father, Ali Hassan. “We want to thank everyone for your love and support at this difficult time. We ask you to kindly keep Abdullah and our family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Later, at the cemetery, the ceremony was a simple but emotional one as Ali lowered the body of his son into the ground while a large group of fellow Muslim men chanted prayers for the family.
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