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Friends and family comfort Aisha and Zainab Mohammad’s mother, Teni Ibrahim Ali, at a funeral for the girls on Tuesday. (Colin Mixson for ˵Ӱ)
Friends and family comfort Aisha and Zainab Mohammad’s mother, Teni Ibrahim Ali, at a funeral for the girls on Tuesday. (Colin Mixson for ˵Ӱ)
Sheetal Banchariya
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Hundreds of people gathered at a Bronx mosque Tuesday to mourn Aisha and Zainab Mohammed, teenage sisters who drowned off Coney Island.

Mariam Mohammed, who witnessed the incident but could not do much to save her younger sisters, hopes her family perseveres through the heartbreaking loss.

“I want to tell my parents it’s going to be OK, because you have me, my brother, and everybody here with us today,” she told mourners at the Yankasa Masjid mosque on Townsend Ave. near Clifford Place in Morris Heights.

Zainab Mohammed (left) and Aisha Mohammed
Zainab Mohammed (left) and Aisha Mohammed.

Assemblyman Landon Dais, addressing the mourners, emphasized the need for more lifeguards and swimming programs to prevent future tragedies.

“We hurt right now because we know there’s more that we could do,” said Dais, who represents parts of the Bronx. “Too many in our communities, specifically our Black and Brown communities, are not allowed the opportunity to learn how to swim.”

The tragedy unfolded Friday evening when Aisha, 18, and Zainab, 17, were seen struggling in the waters near the Riegelmann Boardwalk just after 8 p.m. Despite a swift response from the NYPD and FDNY, the girls could not be saved.

Hundreds of people are pictured outside the Yankasa Masjid in the Bronx to mourn Aisha and Zainab Mohammad on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Brooklyn. (Colin Mixson for ˵Ӱ)
Hundreds of people gathered at Yankasa Masjid in the Bronx to mourn Aisha and Zainab Mohammed on Tuesday. (Colin Mixson for ˵Ӱ)

Their devastated mother, Teni Ibrahim Ali, 43, lives in Columbus, Ohio, and rushed to New York as soon as she heard the news. She said that Zainab only meant to dip her feet in the water when the situation took a different turn.

“After they were done swimming, they were about to leave,” Ali told the Daily News Monday. “Zainab decided to just wash up her feet. She did not go deep in the water. Aisha saw that she was struggling and went to rescue her, but unfortunately, the waves were too strong.”

She said that the sisters had a strong bond.

“They were born one year apart and were very close,” she said. “Everybody was surprised because they were so close together and they passed away together.”

Aisha Mohammed (left) and Zainab Mohammed
Aisha Mohammed (left) and Zainab Mohammed.

The sisters, who lived with their grandmother in the Bronx after their parents separated, are remembered as bright and promising students. They were set to graduate next year from Success Academy to go to college.

The family has been reeling from a series of painful losses, with the girls’ grandfather dying just last month. “It’s just like a blow,” Ali said.

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