Vigil held for Ox­ford stu­dents

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - SAN­DRA BRANDS

David Lein­we­ber, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of Euro­pean His­tory at Ox­ford Col­lege of Emory Univer­sity, said af­ter he fin­ished grad­ing Abinta Kabir’s fi­nal ex­am­i­na­tion from the sum­mer course she’d taken, he sent her an email telling her how much he ap­pre­ci­ated her pa­per.

“I don’t even know if she re­ceived it,” Lein­we­ber said.

Kabir, 19, a ris­ing Ox­ford Col­lege sopho­more, and Faraaz Hos­sain, 21, a 2016 grad­u­ate of Ox­ford Col­lege en­rolled in Goizueta Busi­ness School at Emory, were among the 22 peo­ple, in­clud­ing two po­lice of­fi­cers, killed July 2 in a mas­sacre in Dhaka, Ban­gledash. The two stu­dents, along with friend Tar­ishi Jain, a Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley stu­dent, were hav­ing lunch to­gether at the Ho­ley Ar­ti­san Bak­ery when mil­i­tants took more than 30 peo­ple hostage.

Thurs­day, at Canon Chapel on Emory Univer­sity, stu­dents, fac­ulty and ad­min­is­tra­tors,

as well as two of Hos­sain’s cousins, gath­ered for a vigil in the vic­tims’ honor. The vigil of­fered re­flec­tions from those who knew Kabir and Hos­sain, along with prayers for peace around the world.

Ser­vices in­cluded Is­lamic, Bud­dhist, Chris­tian, Jewish and Hindi prayers and Pak­istani mu­sic. Of­fi­ci­ated over by the Rev. Lyn Pace, a United Methodist chap­lain at Ox­ford Col­lege, the in­ter­faith vigil in­cluded Is­lamic, Bud­dhist, Chris­tian, Jewish and Hindi prayers, and read­ings of Bangladesh po­etry.

Eigh­teen stu­dents car­ried a white Ger­ber Daisy to place in two clear vases on ei­ther side of the pul­pit, each rep­re­sent­ing a vic­tim of the mas­sacre. Doug Hicks, Dean-elect of Ox­ford Col­lege, and Erika James, Dean of Goizueta Busi­ness School, each placed a yel­low Ger­ber daisy rep­re­sent­ing Kabir and Hos­sain, in the vases.

One of the speak­ers at the vigil, Ri­fat Mur­salin, a 2016 grad­u­ate of Emory, said Hos­sain had re­fused to leave his two friends even though he was al­lowed to go. Ac­cord­ing to press ac­counts, the mil­i­tants, later iden­ti­fied as be­ing as­so­ci­ated with ISIS, de­manded that peo­ple re­cite from the Ko­ran and if they did, they were al­lowed to go.

“Dhaka is the place of my birth,” Mur­salin said. “I took my first steps there, spoke my first words. It taught me how to live, how to love.”

Emory, he said, was the sec­ond place where he learned to live and love. “The places I’ve called home — Dhaka and Emory — have col­lided in a hor­ri­ble way ... Dhaka was home and it took two of our own from Emory ... The world seemed like an un­fair place. What did Faraaz and Abinta and ev­ery­one else do to de­serve such a fate?

“My heart goes out to all who started the month of Ra­madan with their loved ones and end it with­out them,” he said.

Hos­sain had re­turned to Bangladesh in May for the sum­mer. Kabir, who was born in Mi­ami, listed Dhaka as her home on her Face­book page. She, too, had re­turned to Dhaka for the sum­mer. Like Hos­sain, she planned to at­tend Goizueta Busi­ness School at Emory Univer­sity, ex­pect­ing to grad­u­ate in 2019. Both stu­dents had been ac­tive on the Stu­dent Ac­tiv­i­ties Com­mit­tee at Ox­ford. FALL RE­MEM­BRANCE AT OX­FORD

Though Lein­we­ber was un­able to make the vigil on Thurs­day, he said he will at­tend any re­mem­brance planned for the fall.

“Abinta was a very bright, very dis­ci­plined, very hard­work­ing stu­dent,” he said. “She was a like­able and per­son­able young lady. She was ear-marked for suc­cess.”

Lein­we­ber said Kabir loved Bangladesh and talked about it quite a bit. “She was very pos­i­tive about Bangladesh and very ar­ing about the peo­ple. He said dur­ing the course on Euro­pean his­tory, the five stu­dents in the class dis­cussed the Bri­tish Em­pire, which had once ruled over In­dia. In 1947, Pak­istan and In­dia gained in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tain, and later Bangladesh would earn in­de­pen­dence from Pak­istan in 1971.

“She shared quite a bit about Bangladesh, and her fam­ily [with the class],” he said.

Lein­we­ber de­scribes Kabir as be­ing smart, de- cent, re­spect­ful, kind and easy go­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Joe Moon, Dean of Cam­pus Life, Lyn Pace, Ox­ford chap­lain and Doug Hicks, Dean of Ox­ford Col­lege, “we will find an ap­pro­pri­ate time and way to re­mem­ber Abinta and Faraaz as well as to cre­ate space for our grief and sad­ness” when stu­dents re­turn to cam­pus in late Au­gust.

Coun­selors, clergy and other pro­fes­sion­als were made avail­able to stu­dents, staff and fac­ulty.

“The Emory com­mu­nity mourns this tragic and sense­less loss of two mem­bers of our univer­sity fam­ily,” wrote James Wag­ner, Pres­i­dent of Emory Univer- sity on the school’s web site. “Our thoughts and prayers go out on be­half of Faraaz and Abinta and their fam­i­lies and friends for strength and peace at this un­speak­ably sad time.”

In his state­ment, Wag­ner re­ported he had been in touch with both stu­dents’ fam­i­lies, and asked for kind thoughts and sin­cere prayers for them.

Sub­mit­ted photo | The Cov­ing­ton News

Dur­ing a vigil held at Canon Chapel on Emory the Univer­sity cam­pus, Doug Hicks, Dean-elect of Ox­ford Col­lege, and Erika James, Dean of Goizueta Busi­ness School, each placed a yel­low Ger­ber daisy rep­re­sent­ing stu­dents Abinta Kabir and Faraaz Hos­sain, in in vases hold­ing white Ger­ber daisies, rep­re­sent­ing the 18 other vic­tims of the July 2 mas­sacre in Dhaka, Bangladesh.



Bryan Fazio | The Cov­ing­ton News

On Satur­day, the day af­ter the Dhaka mas­sacre, stu­dents be­gan plac­ing flow­ers on the steps of Seney Hall in re­mem­brance of Abinta Kabir, 19, a ris­ing sopho­more, and Faraaz Hos­sain, 21, a 2016 grad­u­ate of Ox­ford Col­lege at Emory Univer­sity.

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