Emory University students Abinta Kabir, 19, and Faraaz Hossain, 21, were both killed in the hostage crisis in Bangladesh last Friday evening. They were visiting friends and family in Bangladesh and had gone out for the evening to Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery, popular with expats in the capital city.
Two Emory University students among the victims of ISIS attack in Bangladesh. pic.twitter.com/SAIyejMGHt— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 2, 2016
On her Facebook profile, Kabir listed herself as living in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and as being from there. According to Bustle, however, she was born in Miami. Abinta Kabir was a sophomore at Emory University’s Oxford College in Georgia. Her major area of study is not known at this time, but Oxford College is a liberal arts institute. Abinta was in the sophomore year of her studies in Emory University and should have graduated in 2019.
Emory University student Faraaz Hossain uploaded the photo above to his Facebook page about three months ago. He is in the center, between two friends. NBC reports that Hossain had completed his undergraduate studies at Emory University’s Oxford College and had begun graduate studies in business management.
According to the Bangladesh news site The Daily Star, Hossain, like Kabir, was at Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery having dinner with friends when militants later known to be associated with ISIS stormed the popular spot and took over 30 people hostage. He had arrived in Bangladesh in May for a summer visit with friends and family.
Both Kabir and Hossain came from distinguished families in the Bangladesh business community.
Bangladesh’s bdnews24 identifies Kabir’s mother as Ruba Ahmed, a director in the Meridian Finance and Investment firm, connected with the Bangladesh Bank. On Meridian’s website, Ahmed is described as a respected entrepreneur who completed her BA and Masters in Management at the University of Dhaka. Kabir’s grandfather is director of the Athena Gallery of Fine Arts in Dhaka.
The Daily Star notes that Emory University student Hossain’s mother is Simeen Hossain, managing director of Eskayef Bangladesh, a pharmaceutical company based in Dhaka. He was the grandson of a highly respected businessman in Bangladesh, Latifur Rahman. According to a write-up on Vimeo, Rahman has had a distinguished career. He has been chairman of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry for seven terms and received the 2012 Business for Peace Award.
When word of the hostage crisis in the Holey Artisan Bakery got out, Abinta’s and Faraaz’s families arrived at the scene, according to bdnews24. They tried desperately to reach them by phone, but neither answered. This particular restaurant is located in an area with a high level of security. Therefore, while Bangladesh is familiar with terrorist attacks, a hostage taking and murder here was unprecedented.
Emory University is not the only American college to have lost students in this terrorist attack. University of California at Berkeley student Tarushi Jain, 18, was killed in the hostage crisis. According to Bustle, Jain, a citizen of India, was visiting her father in Bangladesh.
The Hindustan Times reports a religious aspect to the hostage crisis. Hostages were required to recite from the Quran. Those who were able to do so were separated from the other hostages. Their lives were spared and they were even offered food and drink. The attack took place after sundown, a significant detail during the Ramadan holiday month. Muslims observing the Ramadan are able to eat and drink only between sundown and sunset the next day.
Hostages who were not able to recite the Quran were tortured and 20 of them were killed, Emory University students Hossain and Kabir among them.
Emory University issued a formal statement of condolences on their Twitter account.
Our thoughts and prayers go out on behalf of Faraaz and Abinta, their friends and family for strength and peace at this unspeakably sad time— Emory University (@EmoryUniversity) July 2, 2016
The Daily Star announced that Faraaz Hossain’s funeral will take place tomorrow (June 3) after the third of the five daily prayers at Gulshan Mosque in Dhaka. Notification was not made public for Abinta Kabir’s funeral.
[Uncredited photo by AP Images]