A 29-year-old mentally ill man is in jail on charges that he killed two of his sisters in a south-end housing co-op Friday night.
Musab A-Noor is charged with first- and second-degree murder in the deaths of Asma A-Noor, 32, and Nasiba A-Noor, 29.
A-Noor was arrested near the scene Friday night and transported to hospital for minor injuries.
The accused killer is suicidal and refused to leave his cell at the police station to make his first court appearance Sunday morning.
He is now on suicide watch at Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, where he awaits his next court appearance.
Friends of the accused and the dead sisters attended court on Sunday and called the killings tragic.
The double homicide has shaken Ottawa’s Somali community.
Suad Mohamed said she is heartbroken after hearing her friends were killed at a home on McCarthy Road.
“Both of them were the nicest people you would ever meet,” Mohamed said Saturday by phone in Edmonton.
She has known the two women for about 10 years and says she has kept in touch after moving out west. She said Nasiba taught her the Qur’an and both sisters were well-known and involved in Ottawa’s Somali community.
“There are people that live in the city that are contributors; contribute to the good of the city. They were that kind of people that you can really say that about, and not just say it because it’s something people say when people die. Really, they were the definition of good citizens.”
“As long as it was good, they would partake in it. It’s too bad that they had to die so early,” she added.
Police were called to the 3200 block of McCarthy Road at around 9 p.m. and found the two deceased women inside a unit in a row of town homes.
Anver Malam, imam and founder of the Jami Omar Mosque on Old Richmond Road, said there will be a funeral for the sisters Sunday at 1 p.m., but people are welcome to begin praying at noon before the service. A burial will follow at the Ottawa Muslim Cemetery.
The imam said the focus going forward will be to help the family in their grief.
“We are just trying to understand what’s going on and try to console the family members for their unfortunate loss,” Malam said. “It’s very tragic.”
A heavy dumping of snow overnight Friday and Saturday morning hampered officers’ efforts to comb the area surrounding the train tracks for evidence.
Nasiba Noor was remembered as a devoted teacher of the Qur’an by those who worked with her at a west-end alternative Islamic school.
According to her online biography, Nasiba Noor taught Islamic Studies to girls in grades 5 through 8 at the Tarbiyah Learning Centre on Moodie Drive.
“She taught the Qur’an to many, including my daughter as well … Amazing individual,” wrote the school’s co-founder, Ghazala Choudhary on her Facebook profile.
“Two amazing young lives lost… amazing sisters… I am in shock,” she wrote, urging others to pray for the sisters and their grieving family.
According to Noor’s profile, she completed her studies with Shaykh Uthman Khan of Toronto’s Jazriyyah Institute, and taught privately and publicly to women and children “across the globe.”
“Nasiba believes that it is the right of every Muslim to have easy access to reciting and understanding the Qur’an. Her enjoyment in teaching stems from the transformation she sees in her students, as they improve in their fluency and recognize their own potential. Nasiba’s goal is to make the Qur’an the most enjoyable part of her students’ daily routine.”
One of Nasiba’s students also posted on the same social media thread.
“In shock and unable to process it!,” she wrote. “(Nasiba) was my Quran teacher for two years now and I talked to her Friday morning.”
The sisters’ killings were the 23rd and 24th in the city this year.
That number now ties 1995’s total of 24 homicides as the highest for a single year in the past three decades.
On average, over the past 15 years, there have been about 10 slayings a year in the nation’s capital.