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National Yemeni American Leader Tarek Al-Kadri's Passing is Mourned by Many

posted on: Jun 18, 2021

By: Mona Abdulla / Arab America Contributing Writer

The Yemeni community across America is in disbelief.  They all are talking about the loss of Tarek Al-kadri who has been an exemplary role model and a great proponent to the work of Arab America Foundation. 

They recall Tarek’s gentle soul and how he was always available to help others. He paid special attention to neglected and marginalized people, regardless of their background. 

In addition to his kindness, he was very insightful and intuitive. To the young, he was a mentor/father, to his friends a great brother and to his family and community, all of the above. 

All those who knew him, including the writer of this article, are finding it very hard to find the words that would do justice to describe this exceptional man.  Turning to the words of God will only suffice. 

In Islam, there is a belief that there are “awliya” or friends of God among us. These friends of God exude compassion, empathy, humility, patience, kindness among other attributes. Tarek Al-kadri’s character encompassed all of the above dimensions.  This is why so many people across the United States and abroad cannot stop agonizing and crying for him. They are still in disbelief.

According to his son Ahmed, while growing up his dad told him when someone is born, the newborn is crying while everyone else is smiling, therefore it is important to live a good and noble life, so when that person dies, he/she is smiling, while everyone else is crying.  His dad truly lived a full life of obedience and servitude.  

Ahmed spoke with pride about his dad, who emigrated from Yemen to the US in 1990. First, he studied at Georgetown University, then he transferred and graduated from New Mexico State University with a BA in Agricultural Economics. Later he went back to Yemen, got married, and returned to the States.  Tarek and his wife lived in Dallas, Texas where they had six fine children, all of whom carry their spirit. 

Tarek was a problem solver and a visionary pioneer. Because of his talents, he founded two successful nonprofit organizations: Pure Hands and the Muslim Legal Fund of America. Pure Hands operates across the US and delivers relief programs to two field offices in Yemen:  Sana’a and Aden. 

Tarek also created the Muslim Legal Fund of America which is a charity that funds legal work and programs to defend Muslims against injustice in American courtrooms, prisons, and communities. These organizations have assisted countless individuals in need across the nation and the world. 

In addition to the nonprofits he founded, Tarek ran a successful flooring company called: All American Flooring. Even with his personal business, he wanted to organize a way for others to benefit from it.  Along with some community members, he was planning on training others on how they can start their own All American Flooring store.  After some Yemeni store owners were gunned down in the NYC area, Tarek sought to teach others how they can still be entrepreneurs without being limited to owning grocery stores. 

Before this project, he spent a few months meeting with the Biden administration and educating them on the needs of the people in Yemen during the war crisis. Additionally, he supported activities of organizations like the Yemeni American Merchants Association in NYC. The list goes on and on. This is the work he spoke about openly. His humility kept many of his charities private. 

Countless individuals and organizations spoke on the loss of Tarek Al-Kadri. Dr. Abdulrshaid who is the executive director of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)  tweeted, “Br. Tarek, may Allah bless his soul hailed from Yemen but his love for Muslims transcended geography and ethnicity. The struggle for the liberation of Palestine was a priority for Br. Tarek, and he made himself available to AMP anytime we called on him for his wisdom and support.” In his tribute to Tarek, Imam Omar Suleiman of Irving, TX stated, “I feel like I could write a book about this beloved brother. Tarek Al-Kadri was one of the closest family friends we’ve ever had, and he’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met in this community.” Tarek’s Facebook page is filled with posts from friends and family sharing their thoughts and condolences.

Tarek was a very empathetic person. He always invited the needy to his home and offered them food and shelter. He never walked away from neglected people. To younger people, he was good at building a rapport and offering his wisdom. He made everyone feel special; he welcomed others with bright eyes and a smile. 

Our hero, Tarek Al-kadri’s goodness touched everyone. He will always be remembered for his leadership qualities as an effective community organizer, empathetic, generous, caring and a great role model. 

May God bless his soul and keep his memory eternal.  

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