The Gold Coast family of a woman killed in Syria has told of their heartbreak at learning of her death.
Just before Christmas, 22-year-old Amira Karroum, now based in Sydney, told her parents she was heading to Denmark to holiday with friends.
News.com.au reports, on Saturday her family learned the truth.
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Department of Foreign Affairs officials informed Karroum’s father Mohamad and mother Honor Deane their daughter and her Muslim husband, Yusuf Ali, had died in the war-torn country, the latest victims of the conflict that has been raging since 2011.
Gold Coast-based Mr Karroum, who runs a kebab shop in Broadwater, collapsed with a heart attack after hearing the devastating news.
Her half-brother Karl Karroum claims it was a mystery how she came to be in Syria.
“We had no idea she was going to Syria. She left Sydney about December 20, I think, and said she was going to Copenhagen for a holiday with friends and to do some humanitarian work,” Mr Karroum said.
“I mean, her husband lives in Syria, so that’s obviously why she went there, but we thought he was going to meet up with her in Copenhagen.”
Karroum grew up on the Gold Coast and was educated at the prestigious St Hilda’s school, graduating in 2008.
Karl said his half-sister was always a Muslim, despite her Anglican education.
“She was born a Muslim, so was her sister Rose. Their mum isn’t Muslim, but our dad is,” he said.
“She went to that school because it was the best education, and an all-girls’ school … it suited our faith.”
He said Karroum did not wear a burqua or niqab, traditional Muslim dress for women, until a few years ago.
“She started wearing it once she studied her religion more as an adult … she definitely wasn’t a recent convert to Islam, that’s not right,” he said.
In mid-2012, Karroum moved to Granville, in Sydney’s western suburbs, where she met Ali, who is believed to be a Muslim convert originally from North America. They married in Sydney in April last year.