Vigil planned for US teacher killed in Abu Dhabi
Online fundraising appeal to benefit Ryan’s children generates encouraging response
- By Derek Baldwin, Chief Reporter
- Published: 21:00 December 5, 2014
- Image Credit: Instragram
Dubai: A global outpouring of support is buoying the family of American teacher Ibolya Balazi Ryan, the mother of three who was stabbed to death in an Abu Dhabi mall restroom by a niqab-clad woman who is now in police custody.
An internet fundraising appeal as well as a planned sunset candlelight vigil highlight the response to the 47-year-old Romanian-born Ryan’s murder on December 1 by an Emirati woman who later planted a nail bomb at an Egyptian-American doctor’s home but was thwarted when she was arrested in a police raid within 48 hours of the murder.
Ryan leaves behind twin 11-year-old boys, Adam and Aiden, and a 13-year-old daughter, Timea.
According to an Instagram post, a candlelight vigil is planned for tomorrow at 6pm at Kite Surf Beach in Jumeirah in Dubai. “Join us in offering our heartfelt feelings and solidarity with her two sons and to show the world that we are a people who do not accept or take lightly the innocent lives of others,” vigil organisers said in the Instagram post in Arabic.
Meanwhile, people from around the globe are responding to a crowdfunding appeal to help Ryan’s family meet expenses to repatriate her body back home to the United States.
As of late Friday, the site http://www.GoFundMe.com/Ibolya had raised Dh31,147 ($8,480) pledged by 106 donations toward its $100,000 goal.
The money will also help establish an education fund for the children, said Footprints Recruiting, the firm which started the financial appeal. “The family is in need of financial assistance to bring Ibolya back to the US, for funeral expenses, and to establish an educational trust for the children,” the firm said in a statement.
“The family is going to incur great expense in transporting her body back to the US from the UAE in the Middle East, and funeral arrangements. We are hoping to raise as much money as possible to help this family torn apart and to ensure that the children have access to the education that she had dedicated her life to.”
According to her profile on a job recruitment company, Footprints Recruiting, Ryan trained as a teacher in both the US and Europe, working in over four continents in the past 15 years before arriving in the UAE. She started her teaching job in Abu Dhabi in September last year.
The move to organise a vigil for Ryan follows the arrest of the suspect.
Authorities have not indicated a motive for the woman’s crimes.
The United States government, meanwhile, issued a series of advisories both before and after the violence unleashed by the unidentified woman. The US Embassy in Abu Dhabi said it is “working with all the appropriate authorities to seek further information.”
State Department officials said in a December 3 post after the arrest that “there is no information available at this time about the nature of this crime” but offered a series of safety cautions for American citizens.
The warning urged to “avoid large crowds or gatherings.”
Officials also suggested that citizens living in the UAE to maintain a low profile in public. “Tell co-workers or neighbours where you’re going and when you intend to return. Minimise your profile while in public.”