World

Amidst the Grief of the Dhaka Hostage Crisis, a Story of Hope and Courage

Candles and flowers, offered by people to pay tribute to the victims of the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O'Kitchen Restaurant, are pictured at a makeshift memorial near the site of the attack, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 3, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Candles and flowers, offered by people to pay tribute to the victims of the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O’Kitchen Restaurant, are pictured at a makeshift memorial near the site of the attack, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 3, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

In the aftermath of the devastating July 1 hostage crisis in Dhaka, the story of Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain, one of the 28 people killed, emerges as a source of hope and courage.

According to a report in the Daily Star, the 20-year-old Hossain was dining at the Holey Artisan Bakery with his two friends, Indian national Tarishi Jain and US citizen Abinta Kabir, when armed militants stormed the building in the upscale diplomatic district of Dhaka. Surviving hostages claimed that the captors gave Faraaz a chance to leave while insisting on keeping the girls hostage, the Indian Express reported. However, Faraaz refused to abandon his friends. All three were tragically killed.

Faraaz’s brother Zaraif, speaking to the Times of India, describing Faraaz as a sensitive and compassionate individual who “would go the extra mile to ensure that everybody was happy”, who respected all religions and was a firm believer in non-violence. He speculated that the militants allowed him to leave because he was a Bangladeshi Muslim who could have recited verses from the Quran.

Zaraif also fondly remembered his brother’s love for Manchester United and his strong commitment to academic excellence.

The Indian Express reports that the Hossain family owns the prominent Bangladeshi dailies, The Daily Star and Prothom AloFaraaz was an undergraduate student at Emory University in the US, on his summer vacation in Dhaka. The two friends he was meeting at the bakery before the Eid holidays when the attack took place were fellow alumni of the American International School in Dhaka.

In a statement after the attack, the school said these “active members” of the alumni community would be “greatly missed”.

Faraaz’s bravery and loyalty has been hailed in outpourings on social media. A passionate eulogy in the Dhaka Tribune calls him an “inspiration for generations to come and a lesson in how to live our lives” – as well as a representation of “what it means to be a true Muslim”.