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Emory University Honors 2 Students Killed In Bangladesh Terrorist Attack

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We turn to violence in Bangladesh, where yesterday, tens of thousands gathered to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday near Bangladesh's capital.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Attackers hurled bombs at officers guarding the prayer grounds. At least two officers and one civilian were killed in these attacks. This comes just one week after another deadly attack in Dhaka, the country's capital.

MARTIN: Militants took hostages at an upscale cafe. Hours later, at least 20 customers were dead. Two of the victims of that attack were students at Emory University. Their names, Abinta Kabir - he was a sophomore from Miami. And Faraaz Hossain was in business school and from Dhaka. A vigil in their memory was held yesterday afternoon in Atlanta.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHOIR: (Singing) Still the memory of Old Emory grows to us more dear. We will...

GREENE: Rifat Mursalin was headed to his mosque in Atlanta when he heard about the horror unfolding in Dhaka. He kept checking his phone for updates, but it wasn't until the next day that he learned that he had lost a friend.

RIFAT MURSALIN: I woke Saturday morning to quite a few messages on my inbox. And one of them I remember particularly. It read that, I see that you know at least one person that died in Dhaka. And right after seeing that, I jumped out of my bed and, you know, I just like ran to my laptop and I searched, you know, Dhaka attack victims and Faraaz's name came up, along with the name of Abinta Kabir, another student at my alma mater.

MARTIN: Mursalin says it was hard celebrating Ramadan this year, not just because of what happened in Bangladesh but also because of the recent terrorist attacks in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

MURSALIN: It doesn't feel quite festive when you have hundreds of people who've started the month of Ramadan with their loved ones by their sides but they are forced to observe Eid without them by their sides.

GREENE: Rifat Mursalin remembers Faraaz Hossain as a kind and thoughtful person. Hossain offered to help him with a business project that was aimed at alleviating poverty in Dhaka.

MURSALIN: He reached out to me directly and just said, hey, Rifat, I have some connections with some non-government organizations in the Dhaka, in Bangladesh. If you need any help, I would love to help out. That was the kind of person he was, always willing to help others without being asked.

MARTIN: Hossain was a Bangladeshi Muslim. According to media accounts, the attackers told him that he could leave the cafe, but he refused to leave his friends behind.

GREENE: He was with two female friends from the United States and India. The terrorists reportedly killed anyone who could not recite passages from the Quran. Mursalin says Hossain, standing up to the terrorists, embodies what Bangladesh stands for.

MURSALIN: I hope the world remembers Faraaz for the legacy that he left behind, you know, one of incredible courage and incredible bravery and one that showed the entire world the true meaning of love and friendship.

MARTIN: That's Rifat Mursalin speaking about his friend Faraaz Hossain, who died last week when militants attacked a cafe in Bangladesh. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.