There are reports she flew to Syria to join rebels fighting in the civil war. She’s been called a jihadist, an extremist, and a martyr. But before all of that, Amira Ali, nee Karroum, was an Australian daughter, a sister, and a wife.
And that’s what makes Amira’s death as fascinating as it is tragic.
Amira was an ordinary woman from the western suburbs of Sydney who has now become the first female Australian casualty of civil war in Syria.
She was gunned down by the Free Syria Army (FSA) alongside her husband Yusuf Ali near the town of Allepo on Saturday. She was 22.
In the wake of the murders, we’re piecing together every detail we can to try and understand who this woman was, and how she met that fate. Here’s what we know so far: She was born and raised near Broadbeach on the Gold Coast by an Anglican mother and Muslim father.
She attended one of the country’s most prestigious private Anglican all-girl schools, St Hilda’s, and graduated in 2008. She enrolled in a graphic design course at UTS, and moved to Sydney’s inner west last year – the same year she married Yusuf Ali. Despite her Anglican education, she was a practising Muslim who started wearing a hijab around the same time she met her husband at a mosque in Granville, NSW.
Tragedies like these unfold in a series of raw, heartbreaking moments as news hits each family member and friend:
The moment Amira’s father collapsed on the street outside his Gold Coast kebab store when he heard the news of his daughter’s death. He’s still in hospital, recovering from a heart attack.
The moment Amira’s mother, Honor Deane, got the phone call from Department of Foreign Affairs to say her daughter had been killed in Syria – when she thought Amira was with her husband in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ms Deane has been spotted since, fragile and devastated, outside her home in Southport, QLD.
The moment Amir’s sister decided to frame Amira and Yusuf’s death as acts of heroism.