GRANGER, Iowa -- As the procession passed through the gates of Granger's Es-Selam Cemetery, hundreds mourned the death of 13 year old Ali Hashim. "His smile, his manner is charming. God has not forgotten Ali, God loves Ali," said Zion Lutheran Church Pastor John Kline.
His father, Karim Jawda helped the United States military in Iraq. He then helped the family flee to America so his son could have a better life in Iowa. "Ali, he meant so much. He was everything in my life," said Karim.
Ali's Johnston Middle School classmates say he had a love for shoes and a magnetic personality. Fellow eighth-grader Cohen DiMaio said, "The first day we met we just knew we had to be friends."
Less than twenty-four hours after a bicycle crash with a vehicle in Johnston took Ali's life, his funeral attracted people from all walks of life. Multiple religions prayed over the 13 year old. Ali's father said, "I don't have a difference for religions. I work for all and I love all."
His death came sudden for a young teen with a bright future. "I needed to say my final goodbyes before I'd never see him again," said Cohen.
His memory burns just as bright for everyone he came into contact with. "Everybody wanted to be around him. He made life look so easy and fun."
Ali was also heavily involved with an after school program called Pursuit of Innovation at Zion Lutheran Church. It is designed to empower refugee and under-served youth to achieve success. Teachers there say he was one of the brightest minds to ever come through the program.