Abduljalil Alarbash, a student at Wichita State University in Kansas, died Friday after stopping an Islamic State suicide bomber from entering a mosque in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
Alarbash, 22, was a Saudi citizen who had returned to his home country during summer break to get married. He had been engaged to his fiancée for two years.
He was serving as a volunteer security guard outside the Imam Hussein mosque when a terrorist pledging loyalty to Islamic State approached the mosque gate disguised as a woman. The jihadi detonated the suicide bomb after Alarbash, who was volunteering together with his brother and cousin, denied him entry.
By distracting the assailant at the gate, Alarbash and his companions prevented him from killing the worshipers inside, who numbered up to a thousand. The blast went off during the prayer leader’s sermon — a moment captured in a riveting video shared to Twitter.
— mohammad boland (@mohadboland) May 29, 2015
His brother Muhammad Alarbash and cousin Muhammad Hassan Ali ibn Isa died in the blast as well, according to CNN. A Snapchat photo taken at the mosque just two hours before the attack has spread on social media, showing a sunglasses-wearing Abduljalil Alarbash smiling with his cousin in front of the gate.
Islamic State also bombed two luxury hotels in Baghdad Friday. (RELATED: ISIS Claims Attacks At Luxury Baghdad Hotels)
According to local Wichita outlet KSN, Alarbash was an undergraduate electric engineering student whom a professor described as a “gift from God,” saying his Muslim faith meant “he believed in being good to make God happy.”
Writing in the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat Sunday, Saudi columnist Dawood al-Sheryan called Alarbash “a hero and a martyr, whom generations into the future will remember.”
Friday’s attack was the second ISIS attack targeting Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia in two weeks. Shiites constitute around 15% of the citizens in Saudi Arabia, which is a Sunni theocracy. (RELATED: ISIS Claims Attacks On Two Mosques Hundreds Of Miles Apart)
Compounded with the country’s ongoing tensions with Iran, home to nearly half the world’s Shiites, Saudi Arabia’s rigorously Sunni government means that Shiite Saudis often face systematic discrimination and exclusion.
The government-run Saudi Press Agency thanked “security agencies that managed… to foil” the attack, failing to mention the role that the Shiite family played in preventing further devastation.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.