Iraqi Community Mourns Loss, Deals with Unrest in Middle East

June 16, 2014 Updated Jun 16, 2014 at 11:11 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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June 16, 2014 Updated Jun 16, 2014 at 11:11 PM EDT

BUFFALO (WKBW) A moment of silence honored 13 year old Ameer Al Shammari Monday night, as family, friends, and community members gathered to plant a peace tree in his memory.

"Being here with a tree, we are helping the family to be in the process of healing," Ali Kadhun of the Buffalo Immigrant Refugee Empowerment Coalition said.

"And we wanted this place to be a memory so that everyone could remember this tragedy, and by this we are trying to prevent such incidents in the future," Riyam Wannas of the Iraqi American Society added.

Ameer's father was on hand, in tears, kissing a stone tablet with his son's name that was placed in front of the tree.

The teen was killed last month in Black Rock, allegedly strangled by another teen over a cell phone.

"The community is here, the people are here, and showing the message of peace and love to Ameer's family and to all the children of this community," Kadhun said.

Ameer's family came to the U.S. to escape violence in their home country of Iraq, only to find it here. Now with the recent unrest in Iraq, and the rise of the ISIS terrorist group, members of the Iraqi community say peaceful gatherings like this are needed even more.

"We have families who have children there, we have families who have uncles and aunts there, who have parents there. And they're all worried about them because it's not safe and they don't want to hear the news that someone got killed, or someone got injured, or someone is gone," Wannas said.

A small community, struggling with great loss both here and at home, using a tree as a symbol of what they seek. Peace.

The Iraqi American Society is currently working on the best way to help all those still in Iraq.

Fourteen year old Jean Sanchez has been charged with Ameer's murder. The case is expected to go to a grand jury later this month.

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