While the country grapples with the loss of life at the hands of terrorists in Paris and California, Wichita State University this weekend will honor one of its own killed by a suicide bomber.
The university in May said goodbye to 22-year-old electrical engineering student Abduljaleel “Jaleel” Alarbash, who was killed while trying to stop a man with explosives from entering a mosque in Saudi Arabia.
Alarbash, who had gone home to Saudi Arabia to be married, was one of four people killed in the bombing attack. The Islamic State later claimed responsibility.
Alarbash and his cousin had volunteered to stand guard outside Imam Hussein mosque in Dammam, according to law enforcement reports. The young men saw what appeared to be a man dressed as a woman try to enter the mosque. Alarbash and his cousin chased the person away from the mosque and died when the man detonated explosives in the mosque parking lot, according to reports.
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Saudi Arabia officials said at the time that had the young men not taken action, the death toll would have been much higher.
Alarbash was hailed as a hero at a memorial held seven months ago by Wichita State students, faculty and staff. On Friday, a room in Jabara Hall will be named in his memory, and on Sunday, Wichita State will award an honorary degree during a 2:30 p.m. ceremony in Charles Koch Arena.
“He set a very high standard that we should all strive to follow,” said John Watkins, chairman of the electrical engineering and computer science department. “It’s clear that he touched numerous lives. If I had a chance, I would thank him for the huge positive impact he made on this world. I am extremely proud to call him a Shocker.”
Watkins said the decision was made to dedicate the electrical engineering lounge because it’s a highly visible area used by many electrical engineering students.