On Tuesday, Sept. 25, over 30 students and members of the Office of Religious Life gathered in Murray-Dodge Hall to celebrate the life of Yasmin Abdillahi ’20, who died in Texas on June 8.
Gathered in a circle of chairs with students, members of the Office of Religious Life introduced the ceremony and spoke about Abdillahi’s positive legacy.
People filled the room, with several gathered in the doorway and seated on the floor.
“This room is packed with people who are just so touched by her friendship, so moved by her loveliness,” said Dean Alison Boden of the Office of Religious Life.
For the majority of the ceremony, Abdillahi’s friends and classmates shared stories and fond memories. Many statements were thought out ahead of time, while others were generously given in the moment.
Several close friends shared memories of times spent with Abdillahi at art classes, over meals in the dining hall, at the Garden Theatre, and on dorm room floors watching YouTube videos.
Abdillahi was a member of Whitman College.
She identified as Somali-American, and was known for her steadfast dedication to her faith and her education.
The memorial included several readings and prayers from both the Qur’an and the Bible.
Bilal Mukadam ’19 read from Chapters 1 and 39 of the Qur’an, praising Allah and offering condolences to people who have lost loved ones. Sirad Hassan ’20 translated.
Jane Babij of the Christian Union and Casey Li ’19 read passages from Ecclesiastes and Lamentations, respectively, reminding listeners that even though human life is temporary, we should still have faith in God.
“The loving memories that she left behind that we heard are memories that I hope will sustain us and will dry our tears and nurture our hearts,” Imam Sohaib Sultan, a close mentor to Abdillahi and a member of the Office of Religious Life, said.
Abdillahi’s friends reminisced about her constant joy and infectious laughter. They described her as a sweet, caring, and spontaneous person, always sensitive to the needs of others.
“She had a particular smile she would wear around campus no matter what she was doing,” Alexia Martinez ’20 said. “It didn’t matter who you were, how long you’d known her, or what you looked like. She had this unconditional love that I really admired.”
As an active member of Muslim Students Association, Princeton Faith and Action, Worship House, and a Muslim-Christian dialogue group, Abdillahi was known for her devotion to God across different religions.
She grew up in Roseville, Minn., and graduated from Harding Senior High School in St. Paul, Minn. She is survived by her parents, sister, and three brothers.
At the end of the memorial, friends and students were given the opportunity to write to Abdillahi’s family and offer condolences.
She died after being struck by a train in Euless, Texas, between Fort Worth and Dallas. She was 20 years old.
According to friends and family she had been playing with cousins and accidentally encountered the moving train.
In a June 9 story, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that police said Abdillahi walked in front of the train for an unknown reason.
At the time, three local Texas police departments were unable to provide The Daily Princetonian with additional information about the details surrounding Abdillahi’s death, which police were investigating.