At Abduljaleel Alarbash’s candlelight vigil Friday afternoon at Wichita State University, few tears were shed.
From the way he was eulogized by friends and family, that’s the way Alarbash would have wanted it.
“We believe that being a martyr is the most honorable way to die – that is why no one of us is crying right now. We believe that Abduljaleel is happy,” a cousin of his said in his remarks.
“We know that losing Abduljaleel is very sad, but as his parents said, ‘Don’t feel sorry for him; instead, you should be happy … for having such a hero.’ ”
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Alarbash, a 22-year-old electrical engineering student, was killed last Friday when he, along with his cousin, prevented an Islamic State suicide bomber from entering a crowded mosque in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. He had returned home this summer to get married.
Despite the almost-90-degree heat, about 100 people stood on a lawn to the east of WSU’s Rhatigan Student Center for about an hour Friday to remember Alarbash.
Everyone was given a rose with Alarbash’s picture taped to it. A note read, “We always hear about hereos (sic). Now we know them in our real life.”
“Oftentimes my father tells me … give people their flowers while they are living,” WSU student body president Joseph Shepard said. “I hope that before today we had the opportunity to do that.
“Those who knew Jaleel knew him as a hero, as a brave, strong person who always kept a smile on his face, and although he is no longer here, we can still give Jaleel his flowers. We can still recognize him for the work that he has done.”
Representatives from the university’s Muslim Student Association read – and sang – passages from the Koran in Arabic, with a translated English version as well.
More than 10 people spoke, including President John Bardo and Maira Salim, president of the Muslim Student Association.
Bardo said in his remarks that he and Alarbash were not of the same family or tribe or nation, and “may not be of the same religion, but he is, and was, our brother.”
“Our Shocker slogan is, ‘Thinker, doer, mover, Shocker,’ ” said Khondoker Usama, vice president of the WSU student body. “Certainly our brother Jaleel thought more, he did more, moved more, and shocked more with his courage, bravery, selflessness and service to others.”