A close-knit Muslim community on Long Island grieved the loss of three teens who died during a weekend retreat to the Poconos when the SUV they were joyriding in slammed into a tree and burst into flames.
Mostafa Rabbat, 16, and Omar Abdelmoneim, 14, both of Williston Park, and Ahmed Elzanaty, 14, of Dix Hills, were buried yesterday.
"They were like brothers," said a friend, Somer Elemam, adding that the trio was so close they even had a motto: "We ride together, we die together."
Ahmed, an eighth-grader whom friends called "Puffy," loved playing lacrosse and football. Mostafa, a k a "Moose," was a high-school sophomore. Omar, an eighth-grader, wanted to be a doctor, his mother said.
Yesterday, all three were in plain pine caskets pointing toward Mecca for a traditional Muslim funeral ceremony at the Islamic Association of Long Island in Selden. Later, they were buried in the same plot at Washington Memorial Park Cemetery in Coram - again tilted so that the boys' heads would always be facing Islam's holiest city.
It's not the first time tragedy has visited these families. Both sets of Omar and Ahmed's grandparents died in the Egypt Air 990 crash in 1999.
The teens were killed early Saturday morning when an SUV driven by their friend, Karim Abouelfadl, 16, swerved off a winding road and slammed into a tree. Abouelfadl, of Bellmore, had apparently taken his parents' vehicle for an early morning joyride with his friends...