Abinta Kabir and Faraaz Hossain, both students at Emory University, and Tarishi Jain, a student with the University of California’s Berkeley campus, are the three students from American universities who were killed when ISIS terrorists hacked 20 people to death (and killed 22 overall) after taking them hostage at a cafe in Bangladesh. Only one of the three was an American citizen; the other two were studying at American universities but were not U.S. citizens.
The three students from American universities may have been targeted in part because they could not recite the Koran, and the terrorists targeted foreigners, said the New York Times. However, the UK Daily Mail reported that the terrorists offered to let Hossain leave because he was Bengali in heritage but he refused because they wouldn’t let Jain and Kabir go too. The Daily Mail says the attackers split Muslims and non-Muslims into different groups, and gave the Muslim group food and water.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Students From American Universities Were Inside a Bakery When They Were Attacked
The terrorists were targeting the mostly foreign crowd that had gathered inside the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka.
According to CNN, nine of the victims were Italian, seven were Japanese, one was from India, two were Bangladeshi, and one was a U.S. citizen. Nine victims were female and 11 were male. Two police officers also died. The cafe is located in a diplomatic enclave.
The Islamic militants stormed the cafe Friday night, carrying guns, explosives and other weapons. Some guests and cafe employees escaped by jumping from the roof but the three American students did not, CNN says.
2. Both Abinta Kabir and Faraaz Hossain Were Students in Atlanta, Georgia
Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, confirmed that both Kabir and Hossain were students there, the New York Daily News says. The school released a statement that said:
The Emory community mourns this tragic and senseless loss of two members of our university family. Our thoughts and prayers go out on behalf of Faraaz and Abinta and their families and friends for strength and peace at this unspeakably sad time.
Faraaz was a Dhaka native who graduated from Oxford College at the university earlier this year and was planning to enter business school in the fall, the New York Daily News said.
Kabir was from Miami and was a sophomore at Emory’s Oxford College, which is the university’s two-year liberal arts school. The school’s president released a statement that said in part:
It is with pained sadness that I write to tell you of the death of Abinta Kabir, an Emory student at Oxford College. Abinta was visiting her family and friends when she was taken hostage and murdered by terrorists in the attack yesterday in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I was able to reach Abinta’s mother, who is in unspeakable pain. Please, as you are inclined, direct your kindest thoughts and sincerest prayers in her behalf and that of her family.
3. Abinta Kabir Had Gone to the Bakery to Meet Friends
Kabir’s professor David Leinweber told the Miami Herald that he had just finished grading Abinta Kabir’s essay when he learned she had been killed in the Bangladesh massacre. A history professor, he said Kabir was in his class, The Making Of Modern Europe. He wrote the Miami Herald:
She was really excited about it. She talked a lot during our chats, in class, about her love for Bangladesh — the people, the culture, and the history.
Kabir’s cousin posted a passionate and angry post on Instagram about Kabir’s death that provided some details of what happened.
4. Tarishi Jain was Interning in Bangladesh & Called her Father From the Cafe
Tarishi Jain, 18, was a sophomore at the University of California in Berkeley. The university released a statement that said Jain was an Indian national who was working on e-commerce growth at the Eastern Bank Limited in Dhaka. The position was an internship with UC Berkeley’s Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies. She began the internship in early June, the university said.
Jain’s father, Sanjeev Jain, is a textile merchant based in Dhaka; the university said that he rushed to the bakery to get news of his daughter during the 11-hour hostage standoff. According to UK Daily Mail, Jain called her father after the terrorists stormed the cafe and said: “I am very afraid… I’m not sure whether I will be able to come out alive. They are killing everyone here… I think we will be killed one by one.” The Indian Express reported that Jain’s bodies bore signs that she was one of the hostages tortured.
According to the school’s statement, Jain arrived in Berkeley in 2015 and was planning to major in economics. She was active on the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB), which the school described as “a group that provides guidance to and organizes events for international students.” Aradhana Sachdev, a student in molecular and cell biology, wrote:
She was a beautiful soul who we were all blessed to have known. This news has come as a shock to all, and everyone has different means of coping.
5. Victims Were Hacked to Death When They Couldn’t Recite the Koran
According to USA Today at least 20 of the 22 people killed overall “unable to quote from the Quran” so they “were pulled aside and hacked or knifed to death.”
ISIS has claimed responsibility, saying it was targeting citizens of “Crusader countries.”