Former husband of murdered teacher ‘highly moved’ by messages of condolence

Paul Ryan thanks people for the compassion and support shown to him and his three children after dozens of messages were posted on the Remembering Ibolya Ryan online condolence page, created by The National.
Paul Ryan, the ex-husband of Ibolya Ryan, has thanked the community for their outpouring of support. Sarah Dea / The National
Paul Ryan, the ex-husband of Ibolya Ryan, has thanked the community for their outpouring of support. Sarah Dea / The National

ABU DHABI // The former husband of an American teacher stabbed to death in a mall is “highly moved” by the outpouring of sympathy his family has received from the community.

Paul Ryan thanked people for their compassion and support shown to him and his three children – 13-year-old Timea and twins Adam and Aidan, who have been left without a mother – after dozens of messages were posted on the Remembering Ibolya Ryan online condolence page, created by The National in the wake of the tragedy. “We are extremely appreciative of the outlet you provided, and highly moved by what we read there,” said Mr Ryan. “Thank you all.”

Mrs Ryan moved to the capital with the couple’s twin sons last year to work as a kindergarten teacher at Al Oula School in the Al Shawamikh area of Bani Yas. She was fatally attacked on December 1 in a women’s toilet at Boutik Mall, near her Al Reem Island home. An Emirati woman has been arrested in connection with the murder and police say they believe the attacker was acting alone and randomly targeting Westerners.

The suspect is also accused of planting a homemade explosive outside the home of an Egyptian-American doctor. Police defused the improvised explosive device before it could detonate.

In a message posted to Remembering Ibolya Ryan, Mr Ryan said he hoped some good could come from this horrific tragedy.

“Pulling together we can and will create a legacy of Ibolya’s life that can extend beyond our immediate family. Let’s use it to improve the world, help bring it together. Middle East and West. Counter precisely those influences that took her life,” said Mr Ryan. “Thank you all for your support. We value it immensely.”

The public messages pouring in to the condolence page came from former colleagues and even a teacher of Mrs Ryan, who was 47. They spoke of her admirable skills as a dedicated and inspiring teacher.

“You were a brilliant educator. I remember our collaborations over students. You were a supportive, reliable colleague,” wrote Susie Fultz, who identified herself as a former teacher of Mrs Ryan.

“I valued your thoughts and inspiration. You glowed in your pregnancies and you were meant to be a mom. I regret I did not keep in touch when you left Palmer. Rest in peace my beautiful, kind supportive colleague. My sympathy to your children, former husband, family and friends. This is a loss of a dynamic, energetic person of the world.”

Numerous ambassadors to the UAE, including those from Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Japan and Singapore, also expressed their sympathies.

FNC members Mona Al Bahar and Ali Al Nuaimi were among the first to share their condolences.

Dr Albadr Alshateri, adjunct professor at the National Defence College and researcher at the UAE Armed Forces, wrote: “The heinous crime against Ibolya Ryan will stand in the annals of UAE history as a crime against an individual, family, and a nation.

“Ibolya was on a noble mission to teach and rear the youngsters of our nation, and raise her family in UAE society so to appreciate other people’s culture. All that was cut short by a demented individual who stands for everything opposite to the decency of Ibolya.

“This individual has succeeded in ending Ibolya’s life, but we shouldn’t let her end Ibolya’s ideals. Her country and ours will not forget Ibolya and will grieve for her untimely loss, but our countries will honour her by getting closer to each other, especially our two great peoples. May she rest in peace, Insha’allah!”

rpennington@thenational.ae

Published: December 15, 2014 04:00 AM

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