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Updated: Thousands of Muslims Mourn Exchange Student Killed in Santa Fe Shooting

Sabika Sheikh funeral
An overflow crowd extended out into the street for the funeral of Sabika Sheikh, a Pakistani exchange student who was one of 10 killed last week in the Texas High School Shooting outside Houston. Photo by Ahmed Sharma

By Ahmed Sharma
AsAmNews Intern

Today was a dark and dreary day in Texas. Rain poured heavily as cars raced to attend the funeral services for Sabika Sheikh, a Pakistani exchange student who was one of 10 killed during last week’s school shooting in Sante Fe, a small town outside Houston.

Thousands of Muslims gathered at Masjid As-Sabireen in Stafford, a city about 19 miles away from Houston, to pay their respects.

As the prayers began, voices clamored to delay services a few more minutes so other people could find parking and join in. Despite a majority of the participants not knowing Sabika Sheikh, even the rain and scarce parking did not deter people from coming to pray for her.

Sheikh, Sabika Rep Al Green pays his respects as hearst is loaded into hearst
Rep Al Green (D-TX) pays his respects as the casket of Sabika Sheikhis carried into the hearst. Photo by Ahmed Sharma

Directly after the services, Sheikh’s body was carried to a hearse and taken to the airport, so that she may be buried in her hometown of Karachi, Pakistan.

A majority of the attendees did not know Sheikh but one volunteer said, “she has no family here except her host family and it happened here in our city so of course we will pay our respects. It is [part of] our [faith] and she is our daughter and our sister in Islam.”Among the attendees were dignitaries like Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Texas Rep. Al Green.

Jalin Cogburn speaks at the funeral of Sabika Sheikh.
Jalin Cogburn speaks at the funeral of Sabika Sheikh. Photo by Ahmed Sharma

A crowd formed inside the mosque as well to hear from Sheikh’s host family and friends. According to the host parents, they began fasting with Sabika Sheikh during the month of Ramadan. One of the daughters of the host family, Jaelyn Cogburn, fought through tears during her eulogy: “When I first started school, I didn’t know anyone. And I met Saika, and she didn’t know anyone either. And we became very close…She was so loyal to her faith and her country. And she loved everybody. She was the most amazing person I’d ever met, and I will always miss her.”

Former Houston City Council member, M.J. Khan emceed the eulogies and prefaced by reminding everyone of the other nine children that were killed in the Santa Fe shooting and to offer prayers for them as well: “when you offer your prayers today, I know each and every one of you is mourning. Remember Aaron McLeod. Remember Christopher J. Stone. Remember Jared Black. Remember Christian Riley Garcia. Remember Angelique Ramirez. Remember Shauna Fisher. Remember Kimberly Vaughn. And the two teachers: Cynthia Tisdale and Glenda Perkins. And remember our beloved daughter, Sabika Sheikh.

A prayer service was held prior to the funeral for Sheikh, Sabika
A prayer service was held prior to the funeral for Sheikh, Sabika. Photo by Ahmed Sharma

 

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