Assumed dead, St. Paul woman surprises family after fatal Hajj stampede

By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost


After the special morning prayers of Eid al-Adha last Thursday, one St. Paul group abandoned its much-anticipated festive activities during the Islamic holiday commemorating the end of the annual Islamic pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Instead, the group of family, friends and neighbors filled a small mosque in south St. Paul, praying in silence and mourning the death of 62-year-old Dahabo Farah Ebar, whom they thought was killed in a fatal stampede on the outskirts of the Muslims’ holy city of Mecca.

“She was popular in the neighborhood and was loved by everyone,” said Feisal Adan. “We canceled the Eid. The entire neighborhood gathered at her house. It was a sad moment for all of us.”

Two mosques in St. Paul also held special prayers for Ebar, who left St. Paul just two weeks ago to fulfill her Hajj duties. Congregations were told that Ebar was one of more than 700 pilgrims who lost their lives on Thursday in the stampede in Mina as they carried out a symbolic stoning of the devil, one of the final Hajj rituals.

But what happened later in the day astonished all: Ebar called her son, Farhan Sheikhdon, and told him that she had been lost in the crowd and her phone had died.

Sheikhdon then turned to the mourners, telling them that Ebar was in fact alive and well. “People didn’t believe she was alive,” he added. “They were talking to her until midnight.”

Continue reading at MinnPost

Ibrahim Hirsi reports on immigrant communities, social issues, marginalized groups and people who work on making a difference in the lives of others. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he interned for Newsday and has written for multiple publications in Minnesota.

Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

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