The 11-year-old twin sons of Ibolya Ryan, an American teacher stabbed to death in a bathroom in Abu Dhabi, were waiting for their mother outside the shopping mall bathroom while the burqa-clad murderer ended her life, the boys’ father has revealed.
The Daily Mail reports that Paul Ryan, the father of twin boys Aiden and Adam and 13-year-old daughter Timea, has said publicly he has not fully explained what happened to the mother of his children to the boys, but that they were close on hand as Ryan was stabbed repeatedly in a mall bathroom.
Speaking to NBC’s Today on Monday, Ryan explained that the twin boys “did not realize what happened and did not hear their mother cry for help… this monster of a person was lying in wait for someone like her for an hour in the bathroom.” Ryan also did an interview with his three children, wanting to bring as much awareness as possible to his family’s pain. “We’re going to make mommy proud,” he told the children during the interview.
Ryan told CNN that, despite Ibolya Ryan’s murder, he has felt safe in Abu Dhabi since his arrival to care for his boys, and that the government of the United Arab Emirates has treated him “like family.” “They have expressed almost precisely in these terms,” he explained, “the children will not have to worry about their education, for their entire education basically.” The Daily Mail adds that candlelight vigils have been held in the city to honor Ryan, as well.
Ryan appears to have been stabbed for being clearly not Middle Eastern. The suspect, Dala al Hashmeni, followed the stabbing by leaving a bomb in front of the home of an Egyptian-American doctor, which was dismantled before it could go off. The UAE has called the stabbing a “lone terrorist act,” despite evidence found in her apartment which indicates that her home was being used as a “base of operations” for a network of terrorists in the country.
Al Hasmeni was able to hide both a bomb and a large knife under her burqa, which has led to conversations in Emirati media concerning whether burqas should be legal in the country. Many argue that they make it very difficult to identify the wearer, and allow for precisely the sort of activity that led to Ryan’s death– dangers which should override tradition, particularly when many Muslim women opt for the more comfortable and safer hijab, only covering the head, hair, and chest.