Cousins set up fund to aid slain woman’s sons

Donations can be made online

By Akilah Johnson
Globe Staff / August 22, 2011

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BOONTON, N.J. - Cousins of a New Jersey woman slain in what prosecutors say was a murder plot concocted by her husband and a Massachusetts woman have established a memorial fund for her two young boys.

“The fund is to bring normalcy to their lives,’’ Shoaib Iqbal said in a telephone interview. He was one of several cousins who established the fund and corresponding website,

The family of Nazish Noorani is troubled, however, because they have seen little of her sons, Shayan, 2, and Riyaan, 5, since their mother’s death last Tuesday. The boys are staying at the Brooklyn home of their father’s parents. They attended the funeral, but Noorani’s sister, Lubna Choudhry, said other family members have not seen them since.

Choudhry said the father’s parents are grieving, and not just the loss of a daughter-in-law.

“No parent,’’ she said, “wants to believe that’’ their child is capable of Kashif Parvaiz’s alleged crimes.

The decision about who will raise Shayan and Riyaan must be discussed as a family and made with their best interest at heart, Choudhry said. But she is desperate to see the boys.

“We love them and miss them,’’ she said. “They are my sister’s children.’’

Noorani, 27, was gunned down near her sister’s home late Tuesday night while pushing Shayan in a stroller. She and her 26-year-old husband, who had recently moved to East Boston without his family, had just left her sister’s house after breaking the Ramadan fast.

She died of a bullet through the heart. He was shot in the shoulder and ankle and is recovering.

After changing his story several times - blaming a white man, a black man, and another man shouting “terrorists,’’ then saying the attackers were three black men - Parvaiz allegedly admitted to police that he had plotted with Antionette Stephen, 26, of Billerica, to kill Noorani.

Stephen remained in a Massachusetts jail yesterday awaiting extradition to New Jersey.

Iqbal said the cousins set up the fund immediately after Noorani’s death to attend to the boys’ immediate and long-term needs, which include paying for preschool and eventually college.

Noorani was emphatic that her boys should be enrolled in a school in Boonton, where she grew up, or in Boston should Parvaiz move his family to be with him - but not in Brooklyn, said Choudhry.

Scores of people had signed the website’s guest book, many of them who apparently did not know Noorani, expressing their disbelief of the alleged plot and condolences for the family.

One user wrote, “We miss you Nazish and will take care of your boys we promise.’’

Parvaiz’s family declined to comment yesterday. “No one wants to give an interview,’’ a woman yelled through the closed front door of their Brooklyn home.

On Saturday, however, Parvaiz’s mother and sister spoke to reporters from several newspapers in New Jersey and New York. They said Noorani’s family couldn’t afford the cost of caring for the boys and accused Noorani’s sister of starting the memorial fund to support her own children, statements Noorani’s family denied.

“Our goal is to be as transparent as possible,’’ Iqbal said.

So far, 175 people have given donations ranging from $5 to $1,000, he said. The fund was quickly established, but the ultimate goal is turn it over to a foundation to manage.

“There is no financial motive in this at all for us,’’ said Iqbal.

Akilah Johnson can be reached at