Funeral service for slain Sabika Sheikh held in Houston

Among the mourners was the late teen's first cousin who lives in the United States


Afp May 21, 2018
Nasir Shenwari (C), holding daughter Aunza grieve as the casket of Santa Fe High School shooting victim Sabika Sheikh, 17, leaves after a funeral service in Stafford, Texas, on May, 20, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

STAFFORD, TEXAS: Houston's Muslim community gathered to offer prayers Sunday at the funeral service for a 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student killed in a mass shooting at her southeast Texas high school.

About 1,000 people, many with Pakistani roots and wearing traditional Muslim dress, converged on an Islamic center in Stafford to honour Sabika Sheikh, whose body was brought by hearse to the somber service from Santa Fe, the nearby small rural town where a student murdered 10 people including eight students.

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Among the mourners was the late teen's first cousin who lives in the United States. She said Sheikh's relatives are completely devastated.

"The family back home, we are in touch with them. They're crying every moment. Her mother is in denial right now," Shaheera al Basid, a graduate student in the US capital Washington, told AFP at the funeral service.

The coffin of Santa Fe High School shooting victim Sabika Sheikh, 17, is carried during her funeral service in Stafford, Texas, on May, 20, 2018. PHOTO: AFP The coffin of Santa Fe High School shooting victim Sabika Sheikh, 17, is carried during her funeral service in Stafford, Texas, on May, 20, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

The coffin of Santa Fe High School shooting victim Sabika Sheikh, 17, is carried during her funeral service in Stafford, Texas, on May, 20, 2018. PHOTO: AFP The coffin of Santa Fe High School shooting victim Sabika Sheikh, 17, is carried during her funeral service in Stafford, Texas, on May, 20, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

"It's a shock we need our entire life to recover from," the 26-year-old added.

Men lined up in rows offered traditional mourning prayers as Sheikh's coffin, draped in the green and white flag of Pakistan, was brought into a small, cramped sanctuary.

Sheikh had been due to return home in mere weeks, in time for Eidul Fitr.. "It's a shock, it's so sad," said realtor Ike Samad, 67, who was born in Pakistan but has lived here most of his adult life and raised his children as Americans.

"I came here just like her, as a student," he recalled. "God forbid that could have happened to me when I was here. As a parent, it is just devastating."

Pakistani exchange student among ten killed in Texas school shooting

Samad also addressed the painful irony that a young woman from a country that many Americans associated with the war on terror in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington was killed in a country that millions around the world see as a bastion of freedom.

PHOTO: AFP PHOTO: AFP

Nasir Shenwari (C), holding daughter Aunza grieve as the casket of Santa Fe High School shooting victim Sabika Sheikh. PHOTO: AFP Nasir Shenwari (C), holding daughter Aunza grieve as the casket of Santa Fe High School shooting victim Sabika Sheikh. PHOTO: AFP

The attacks were a "tragedy, and tragedy sometimes teaches you life," he said. "But it also revisits, and in this case very close to here."

Several Pakistani-American youths also attended the funeral service, including Danyal Zakaria of nearby Sugar Land, Texas.

The 17-year-old said it was "truly mind-blowing" that an exchange student his age could be cut down in cold blood at a US school.

"This nation is known to be safe," he said. "If America is not safe, then where is?"

COMMENTS (7)

MOHAMMED K ZAIDI | 3 years ago | Reply We were shocked to see that a YES program student from Karachi, Pakistan was killed in our neighborhood. We pray for her and the parents, brother Ali and her young sister. May Allah ST shower HIS blessings on her and award courage to face this great loss to the family. We pray for you all who know her - here in Santa fee and in Pakistan. Best regards
SHAH S | 3 years ago | Reply @Libra: Sorry cannot agree... as all these are Ethnic cleansing.. In Serbia the Christians did ethnic cleansing by rape and mass murder of Bosnian Muslims.. its okay to kill Muslims by Christians....; In Burma-Myanmar the Buddhists did it by killing mass murder and rape of Muslims.. its okay to do this...; In Hindus-tan the Hindus are raping and killing mass murder of Muslims.. its okay to kill Muslims...; Only there is Muslim Terrorism.. even when Muslims are killed by Muslims.. its Muslim terrorism;
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