Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech Muslims


By: Tariq Nelson

Lots of families - including Muslim ones - here in Northern Virginia have children going to school at Virginia Tech and were worried sick as the news came out. I know someone currently working on his master's there.
I just spoke to my friend, Ahmed Sidky who is a grad student at Virginia Tech. He is very emotional right now and says that the entire community is in a state of shock, but that the entire community - including the Muslims - has come together in this time of tragedy. Everyone was checking up on one another and trying to comfort and help one another heal. He said that the shock was intensified because they had an on campus festival on Sunday (the day before) and had a lot of pictures of the victims smiling and having a good time that added to the emotion of this. An indescribable emotional shift.
He told me that a close friend of his is "missing" and they are expecting the worse. He told me his name, but did not want me to release it until his family is notified back in Egypt. (Update: Ahmed's friend Waleed Shaalan is confirmed dead. He leaves behind a wife and son.)
The campus set up a meeting point for family and friends where they were until almost 2:30 AM trying to comfort one another. There was a large gathering of Muslims there and he told me that the Virginia Tech administration was very accommodating to them - making a special place for the prayers. He said that it was one of the most emotional prayers for him and that everyone was crying during the prayers.
Reem Samaha
He also told me that everyone met Reema Samaha's (A victim of this tragic shooting) parents and described for me the highly emotional scene in which everyone was trying to comfort her devastated parents. She was just a freshman and a highly energetic young woman who was very active and popular on campus.
In a time of tragedy, one can really see that we are all human beings and people come together to comfort one another. It did not matter the religion of the victims. Everyone was a hurting human being.
What I write here is not 1/10th as emotional as what Ahmed told me and I wish that I could do it justice, but this is what I have for now.
Let us keep all of them in our du'aa
This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2007 at 11:19 am.

Tariq Nelson was born in Sardis, Mississippi and currently lives in the Washington DC area. He maintains a blog at

The Virginia Tech Muslim Student Association released this statement:
The Virginia Tech Muslim Student Association expresses great sorrow for the tragic events that occurred today on the Virginia Tech campus. We would like to convey our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and offer our help in anyway to the university campus community. We would like everyone to please keep us in their prayers. Jazakumu Allahu Khairan for the concern we received today and we definitely feel the brotherhood and sisterhood that binds all us together.
- The Executive Board of the Muslim Students Association at Virginia Tech

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