Maryland couple among dead on pilgrimage to Mecca in extreme heat – NBC4 Washington
Maryland couple among dead on pilgrimage to Mecca in extreme heat – NBC4 Washington

A couple from Bowie, Maryland, had always dreamed of making the Hajj to Mecca.

Their family says they were among more than 1,000 people who died on the annual five-day pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in temperatures exceeding 49 degrees.

The victims were Alhaji Alieu Dausy and Haja Isatu Wurie.

Her daughter Saida Wurie sat with her two brothers on Sunday and told News4 about her last communication with her parents.

“She told me that they had walked for over two hours to reach Mount Arafat, which is part of the Hajj,” she said.

On the way to Mecca they still had about twelve miles ahead of them in scorching heat.

“The conditions were not the best. Transportation should have been provided. They paid for transportation, but there was none,” Wurie said.

Their parents would not have turned around.

“Despite everything, they continued on their path and stood up for what they wanted to do because of their religion,” said their daughter.

Dausy and Wurie both worked on Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’ campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Alsobrooks sent her condolences to the family and said Wurie’s work had “transformative impacts felt both locally and globally.”

“Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with their families during this difficult time. Their loss is profound and we will miss them greatly,” she said in a statement.

Wurie was a member of the district’s African Diaspora Advisory Board.

“During the COVID workforce, she was the first there. She was also the first at food collections,” said Chukwunonso Vincent Iweanoge of the advisory board.

Wurie also traveled to the couple’s birthplace, Sierra Leone, to help combat an Ebola outbreak.

Saudi officials said Sunday that more than 1,300 people had died during the hajj, which Muslims are supposed to perform at least once in their lives. Associated Press journalists saw pilgrims fainting in the heat, collapsing and vomiting. The deceased pilgrims came from countries including Egypt, Indonesia, India, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Malaysia, the AP reported.

Dausy and Wurie’s children said they would continue their parents’ legacy.

“We want to continue what our parents did and donate our time to charity,” their daughter said.

The Hajj is an annual religious pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

The siblings said they plan to travel to Saudi Arabia to find out where their parents are buried. For now, they are mourning the death of their parents while embarking on the journey they had always dreamed of.

“They had been looking forward to this their whole lives,” Wurie said.

By Everly