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Barakat and Ahmad said that they got it, and continued unpacking.Barakat, who was six feet three, athletic, and outgoing, was too focussed on his future to concern himself with cranky neighbors.
Her younger sister, Razan, began accompanying the couple on excursions, and Abu-Salha encouraged her friends to chat with Barakat in a group texting thread.Jabeen is on the short side, and Barakat sometimes greeted her by walking up behind her and gently placing his hand on her head.She was delighted to learn that Barakat was planning to marry Abu-Salha, another Al-Iman graduate.Abu-Salha could seem shy, but in the spring of 2014 she surprised many people by auditioning, with Odeh, to be an m.c. “There’s that stereotype that girls aren’t funny,” Odeh said.“But we were, like, ‘No—we’re the funniest people ever! We had such a good time.”In college, Abu-Salha and Barakat became a couple.Barakat and Ahmad first met in middle school, playing basketball on Friday nights at a gym connected to the Islamic Association of Raleigh, the local mosque. As Barakat advanced in his studies, he began leaning toward pediatric dentistry; his adviser was researching what makes some children cavity-prone, and Barakat had a knack for coaxing jumpy toddlers into a dentist’s chair. He loved pranks, and made a point of sticking the windshield wipers up every time he walked past his roommate’s car.
He knew all the words to “Let It Go,” from “Frozen.” Although Barakat was twenty-three, he still stopped by his old grammar school—Al-Iman, a private institution in Raleigh that offered “an Islamic environment”—to say hello to Mussarut Jabeen, the principal.
One of the friends, Rana Odeh, told me, “I love my sweet tea and football as much as anybody. Abu-Salha majored in biology, and, like Barakat, she began contemplating dental school.
But at the same time I appreciate that it’s very diverse in this part of the South.”The girlfriends reunited at N. Last summer, she travelled with her mother to Kilis, in southern Turkey, where she volunteered at a dental clinic for Syrian refugees.
Abu-Salha thrived at Athens Drive High School—she became an editor of the student newspaper, the and her hijab was sometimes in the school colors, blue and orange.
But most of her socializing after class was with the Fab Five.
Every month or so, Hicks came by to complain that visitors were parking in the spaces designated for him and his wife, Karen, a nurse-practitioner.