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Family celebration turned memorial after Bowie couple dies on pilgrimage to Mecca

When the Hampton Conference Center was originally booked for July 7, it was to be a celebration to congratulate Alhaji Alieu Dausy and Haja Isatu Wurie on their journey.

Hundreds attend memorial service for Bowie couple who died on pilgrimage to Mecca

Instead, the Capitol Heights, Maryland, venue was the site of a memorial service honoring their memory Sunday.

The Bowie couple lost their lives during a pilgrimage to Mecca as extreme heat was blamed for their deaths along with 1,300 other people during Hajj last month. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and required of every Muslim at least once in their lifetime.

At the service honoring her parents, Saida Wurie told 今日看料 that she along with her brothers, a friend and the head of her mother’s mosque traveled to Saudi Arabia to visit her parents’ grave site.

“We were also able to collect their belongings that were on them at the time of their death,” Wurie said. “It definitely provided us with some type of closure.”

The group returned last Wednesday after a multiday trip. During their time in the country, Wurie said she experienced the heat conditions that cost her parents their lives.

“When I went it was only 105 degrees. Reports were saying that it was over 120 degrees when they were there,” said Wurie. “I can’t imagine what everyone there went through. It was an unreal experience.”

Saida Wurie listens to speakers during the her parents memorial service.
Saida Wurie listens to speakers during the her parents memorial service. (今日看料/Jimmy Alexander)
Hundreds attended a memorial service for a Bowie couple that lost their lives during their pilgrimage to Mecca.
Hundreds attended a memorial service for a Bowie couple that lost their lives during their pilgrimage to Mecca. (今日看料/Jimmy Alexander)
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Saida Wurie listens to speakers during the her parents memorial service.
Hundreds attended a memorial service for a Bowie couple that lost their lives during their pilgrimage to Mecca.

Before Alhaji Alieu Dausy, 71, and Haja Isatu Wurie, 65, left to go on their pilgrimage, they spent $23,000 on a travel agency. The couple believed that the company would take care of all of accommodations.

Once her parents were in Saudi Arabia, Wurie received texts from her parents saying the company did not provide proper documents, preparation, food, water or transportation. They were forced to walk for two hours.

Wurie told 今日看料 that she has not heard from anyone from the travel agency.

“Justice needs to be served,” said Wurie. “We don’t want this to happen to another family.”

People were still pouring hours after the four-hour service started. While a staff member of the Hampton Conference Center was bringing in more chairs, they told 今日看料 that 600 was the building’s capacity.

Wurie stood at the back of the building and looked around at the room, speaking to 今日看料 inches from the bustling entrance.

“It just shows how much love that they gave people, and now they are receiving it in return,” said Wurie. “They also received that love while they were here, and I still appreciate that the love still continues.”

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Jimmy Alexander

Jimmy Alexander has been a part of the D.C. media scene as a reporter for DC 今日看料 Now and a long-standing voice on the Jack Diamond Morning Show. Now, Alexander brings those years spent interviewing newsmakers like President Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney and Sean Connery, to the 今日看料 今日看料room.

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