Tahfiz school fire victims were 'easygoing, fun'

JULIA FIONA AND ALIA MIOR

KUALA LUMPUR: “I will always remember the times we hung out together laughing, chatting and singing,” said Harun Omar, 60.

He is the muezzin of the Al-Madrasatul Ittifaiqiyah surau, who used to mingle with the students involved in a pre-dawn blaze at a religious school here today.

“I like to joke around and sing with them. These kids were really accepting and easy to be around with.

“If you look at their faces, you can see their innocence and the purity of their souls. They were still young, so this incident really saddens me,” he told the New Straits Times today.

The surau where Harun works is a stone’s throw away from the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school, which was gutted in fire earlier today.

At least 24 people, including 22 students and two wardens, were killed.

Harun, who has worked at the surau since 1969, said he was devastated by the tragedy.

“I am still traumatised by their screams when the fire broke out. I heard how their frightened cries faded over time.

“I somehow feel empty knowing that they are gone now. We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.”

He said every time the children finished their prayers, they would spend time listening to Harun singing songs by Jamal Abdillah, a famous Malaysian singer.

Harun said the students had been studying at the school for a little over two years.

“The country should pray for those affected. At the surau, we will be reciting the Surah Yasin as soon as possible.” © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd