The Mirror

Scarborough, Ontario

Murder victim's mother saddened
by number of slain youth

Memorial service for Terrence Riaz Ali on Saturday

July 31, 2007 02:12 PM

Moonie Ali has avoided reading or watching the news since her son was killed four years ago because the never-ending violence takes her back to the day her 15-year-old son was beaten to death in Scarborough.

But she still hears about Toronto's increasing tally of murdered youth.

As she prepares for this Saturday's fourth annual memorial service in honour of her son, Terrence Riaz Ali, the numbers of murdered youth leaves Ali distraught.

"It (is) so much for me to handle. The pain. Everything comes back," she said. "We come into this world and know we would have to bury our parents. We never thought or acknowledge we might have to bury a child. This is the most devastating thing for any parent."

Two recent high-profile fatal shootings in particular have left her broken-hearted.
This month, 11-year-old Ephraim Brown was slain while attending a family birthday party in North York. Jordan Manners, a 15-year-old student, was gunned down inside C.W. Jefferys Collegiate in May.

"I heard about this 11-year-old. I can't imagine, although I'm in the same situation as that mother, I just can't imagine what that mother is going through. The whole family, but especially the mother. He was just a baby. I cannot cope with it. When I heard about this 11-year-old, I felt I was going crazy. I felt that pain," she said.

"I wanted to attend that (Jordan's) funeral. I wanted to reach out to that family, but I didn't have a clue how to reach out."

Unfortunately, Ali understands the emotional agony of losing a child all too well.
While attending celebrations during Caribana weekend in August 2003, Terrence was found beaten to death on the shores of Lake Ontario near the Rouge Hill GO station.
An autopsy revealed the high school student suffered fatal blunt force trauma wounds to the head, chest and neck.

Three men were convicted in the beating death, including Jason Habibullah, who pled guilty to second-degree murder, and Raymond Mackhan, who pled guilty to manslaughter. A young offender pled guilty to first-degree murder.

Caribana weekend is especially difficult for Ali.

"I don't even want to hear the word Caribana, but you can't stop people from talking. Certain words are a trigger for me at that time (of the year) and every day," she said.

"Some people say as time goes by, things are going to get easier but there is always a pain. People say it's a long time (since Terrence's murder). It is a long time, but for the people going through it, it is just like yesterday. It has affected all areas of my life, all areas of my loved ones."

Reaching beyond her pain, Ali has dedicated her life to helping victims of crime and violence, establishing a victims' rights group called the Terrence Ali Foundation.

In May, her efforts were recognized when the provincial government presented her with an inaugural Victim Services Award of Distinction. Progressive Conservative Attorney General critic Bob Runciman said Ali helps victims with "great energy, compassion, dedication and conviction."

The memorial service for Terrence will take place Saturday, Aug. 4 at 3 p.m. in Lot 6 of the Duffin Meadows Cemetery at 2505 Brock Rd. N. in Pickering.

Ali has also been selected to represent the Greater Toronto Area in the Walk for Justice for Murder Victims next month.

Participants will walk back and forth from Queen's Park to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice court house at 361 University Ave. calling on the justice system to better recognize the rights of families who have lost a loved one to murder.

"I don't even refer to what we have in Canada as a justice system. If this is justice, I don't want to see what is injustice," Ali said. "We are going by a legal system that has yet to be changed into a justice system."

The walk takes place Sept. 9 at 3 p.m.



"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

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