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Community prays for family of limo driver killed on Chicago's West Side

Community prays for family of murdered Chicago limo driver
Community prays for family of murdered Chicago limo driver 02:17

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A man with a big heart – that was how friends and family described a Chicago limo driver who was murdered over the weekend as they bid him a final farewell on Tuesday.

As CBS 2's Shardaa Gray reported, a community gathered at the Muslim Community Center, at 4380 N. Elston Ave. in Old Irving Park neighborhood, to pray for Mohammad Al Hijoj, 39. Many flocked to the community center to say a prayer for the family.

Among those present at the service was Al Hijoj's friend, Ehab Salas, who moved with him from Jordan in 2009.

"He has a big heart," Salas said. "I mean, we have a lot of memories together, but, you know, just losing a person is not an easy thing, though."

Also in attendance was Mohamed Al Hijoj's brother, Sadam, who was relying on the power of prayer.

"Just to pray to him. That's the best thing we can do to him," said Sadam Al Hijoj. "Pray to him, and God watch us."

A witness said Al Hijoj was driving a car with four additional males inside around 5:36 p.m. Sunday, in the 1700 block of North Lotus Avenue, when it came to a stop. Shots were then heard, and the four males exited the car and fled the scene, police said.

Al Hijoj, 39, suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the body and was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood in critical condition and was pronounced dead a short time later.

"Do they know him? Did Mohammed hurt anyone here? No," said Al Hijoj's sister, Kawkab. "The question is why, and I need the answer."

Family members said Mohammed was a husband, a father of three, and a well-known and respected driver. The large crowd inside of the Muslim Community Center shows how much he was liked.

Family members are hoping there will be an end to violence.

"Our religion is Islam, and Islam is code for peace," said Kawkab Al Hijoj. "Islam is the root of – Islam basically the word for peace. It means peace. We call for peace."

Funeral on Tuesday for limo driver killed in Chicago 01:52

Al Hijoj's business partners still have a lot of questions—their main concern is why he was driving on Chicago's West Side.

"The last time we spoke, he was in Chicago in the city and then two hours later, we heard he is dead," said Issa Shubash, CEO of Oreos Limo.

"It's this needless senseless violence. It's this guy that meant so much to his family, his friends so much to the community," said Hijoj's friend's friend Eli Soloman. 

Funeral arrangements were set to continue Tuesday night. Following the service will be what is called an 'Azza, in which the family arranges a specific place for people to extend their condolences.

The 'Azza for Al Hijoj was set to be held at the Islamic Community Center of Illinois, 6435 W. Belmont Ave., at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Al Hijoj's body will be flown back to his native country of Jordan.

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