Press Statement | September 25, 2023

Arlington, Va. (September 25, 2023)—ECDC is deeply saddened by the tragic death on September 20th of Ahmed Zainuldeen, a 23-year-old Iraqi refugee who came to the U.S. in search of a chance at life only to meet with a horrible death. It is heart-wrenching to think that someone who sought refuge in our country and with support from our Denver branch office, the ECDC-African Community Center, has been working hard to achieve his dreams and start a new life, see his life cut short in such a horrifying, senseless manner right outside his Denver, Colorado apartment.

While the crime of carjacking could happen to anyone, Ahmed’s story is especially tragic because of the circumstances under which he came to the United States. Ahmed and his younger brother fled Iraq and came to the U.S. with their parents less than a year ago as refugees.

This is a poignant reminder of the challenges and hardships that many immigrants and refugees face in their pursuit of a better life along with the dreams and aspirations that brought them here, the hope for a brighter future, and the yearning for security and peace. It is profoundly distressing that these hopes were shattered so abruptly by a senseless crime in a community that should have offered Ahmed and his family sanctuary and protection. That such a tragedy occurred is especially heartbreaking. This family, like every refugee we resettle, fled persecution and danger and started working hard to rebuild their lives and to become contributing members of the community in which they live.

During these difficult times, our thoughts and prayers are with Ahmed’s family and loved ones, his community, our branch office staff, and his caseworkers who are devastated by this tragedy.  We hope they find the strength and support they need to cope with this unimaginable loss. Ahmed ‘s memory should serve as a reminder of the importance of compassion, unity, and protection in our society. We must work together to create communities where everyone, regardless of their background, can find the peace and safety they seek.

We trust the perpetrators will quickly be apprehended and brought to justice.

Every life is precious, and every individual, regardless of their background or origin, deserves to live in safety and peace. We extend our condolences to Ahmed’s family and empathy to the residents of the neighborhood, who may also feel vulnerable by this deadly shooting just steps outside their homes.

Our prayers go out to all those affected by this tragic loss. May Ahmed rest in peace, and may we all strive to make our country a safer and more compassionate place in his memory.

ECDC’s Denver branch, the ACC-Denver, has announced that the family’s mosque will be collecting funds to support them during this time.

Here is the link to the GoFundMe page that was set up for the Zainuldeen family:

For more information: Contacts:, Ron Buzard, Managing Director, ACC Denver  or; Lullit Paulos, Communication Officer, Arlington Va.

“It was only several months ago that he had saved up enough money to buy the car that was stolen, a 2012 Hyundai. He had such a great future ahead of him. He was kind and funny. He was always wanting to talk and learn about life here. He was excited and his whole family was excited to build a life here.” — Anna Hanel, ACC Case Manager

Read more:

Announcing the loss of an ACC community member – Ahmed Zainuldeen — Help Refugees Rebuild | African Community Center (

CBS News: Iraqi refugee family mourns loss of young man killed in Colorado carjacking – CBS Colorado (

Denver Post: Iraqi refugee Ahmed Zainudeen killed in Arapahoe County carjacking (