Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Muslim Student brutally killed in Washington, DC|
|02/10/01 at 01:15:21|
|Allah has challenges for all of us. Make dua for this brother. |
Benjamin Varner - Reached Out to Islam
February 8, 2001, by Omer Bin Abdullah for IslamiCity
Gallaudet University freshman Benjamin Varner, 19, was found dead
in his Cogswell Hall dormitory on Feb. 5, 2001. He will be buried in
San Antonio on Feb. 9.
Gallaudet is a liberal arts college of about 2,000 students in
northeast Washington, DC that caters to the deaf and
hard-of-hearing—the only one in the world.
Benjamin Varner’s father, Willie, told a press conference in
Washington that his son began identifying himself as a Muslim when
about 13 and had been faithful to his religion since.
Benjamin was a good son, he said, and he called his mother, Diane Varner, back home in
San Antonio virtually every night.
Varner described his son as intelligent and kind. Like many freshmen, Varner said, Benjamin
was nervous about starting college so far from home. He had not declared a major,
university officials said, though he had taken an interest in business administration. He was
known more for hitting the books than for joining student clubs. Ben had voiced safety
concerns during his visit home on his winter break. His father said that safety concerns did
not prevent his son from returning to school. "He got over that like we did," he said. "We
kind of forgot about it."
Gallaudet campus minister Rev. Kirk VanGilder said Varner was spiritually mature for his age.
"He was a very devoted student. He was very serious about his studies, very close to his
family. His R.A. (resident advisor) said he called his mother every night," said student body
President Chris Soukup.
According to police reports, Benjamin Varner appeared to have struggled with his attacker
and was stabbed many times.
A vigil was held at Gallaudet on Feb. 7 to honor the memory of 19-year old Benjamin Varner.
|Re: Muslim Student brutally killed in Washington, DC|
|02/10/01 at 12:38:55|
|Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam 'ala Rasulillah|
Assalamu alaykum wrt. wbt.
The Executive Committee of the Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada is deeply saddened by the loss of Benjamin (Ahmed) Varner, a Gallaudet University student who was stabbed to death this past Saturday, February 3, 2001. Brother Altaf Husain spoke to Ben’s parents by phone early Friday morning and extended our condolences to them. Imam Muhammad Amin Aziz, of the Islamic Center of San Antonio and other community members met with the Varner family Thursday evening. Willie. H. Varner, Ben’s father, said that after the meeting, he and his wife Diane felt at peace now, almost a week after they were first notified of their son’s death.
In accordance with Ben’s wishes, his parents have worked tirelessly with the Muslim community to bury him according to Islamic guidelines. Imam Muhammad has informed MSA National that the janazah prayer will be held after Juma prayers today at the Islamic Center of San Antonio. Insha’allah, we would like to request all students and the community at large to make a special du’a for Benjamin Varner and his family at your own Juma prayers.
Only a week before his brutal death, Benjamin had informed his mother that he would be choosing the name Ahmed. He wanted her to try it out and see how she liked the sound of it. Diane Varner told Br. Altaf that she felt she would have gotten used to calling him that by this coming summer. Indeed, it was Ben’s mother who first took him to the Islamic Center in San Antonio when he was only eleven years old. Ben was assigned to write a paragraph about different religions and he was just fascinated by what he read about Islam.
Insha’allah, MSA National is in the process of establishing a Memorial Scholarship Fund in honor of Benjamin Ahmed Varner. A similar fund already has been established at Gallaudet University and we may join that effort after doing some more research about the objectives of that fund. We will keep you updated.
Ben’s parents expressed their desire to hear from other Muslim students and parents from around the US and Canada. Br. Altaf has received their permission to give out the home address for such correspondence. Please exercise your best judgment in sharing it with others:
Willie H. and Diane Varner (parents of Benjamin Varner)
256 Wyanoke Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78209
We make du’a to Allah (swt) to admit Br. Benjamin Ahmed Varner in jannah (heaven). Ameen.
Wassalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh
The Executive Committee
Muslim Students Association of the US and Canada
|Re: Muslim Student brutally killed in Washington, DC|
|02/22/01 at 01:37:43|
|Received this from MSA NET:|
from albasha <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
***Reflections on the Benjamin Varner Memorial Service***
It was hard to sit in the audience on that rainy Friday afternoon and hold
back my tears, as I heard about a Muslim brother who was killed. I never had
the chance to meet Benjamin Ahmed Varner, and after sitting through the
memorial service I wish I had. His story is inspirational, and is one that I
will carry in my heart as I journey in life, trying to serve Allah (swt). I
urge you to do the same!
As I listend to his teachers and his fellow students talk about him, I was
struck by his beautiful qualities and how in such a short time he embodied so
much of the character of our beloved Prophet[saw]. He was inquisitive and
let nothing stop him from finding the truth, which led him to revert to Islam
when he was only thirteen years old! Although profoundly deaf, he struggled
to learn Islam and, with the help of his mother, attended classes at his local
masjid. His desire to learn took him to Gallaudet University, a university
for the deaf and hearing impared located in Washington DC. Once at Gallaudet
University, he made it a point to find other Muslim students and form ties of
brotherhood. He would encourage them to pray and challenged them to know more
Speaker after speaker would talk of his smile, his intelligence and his
absolute love and desire to be with Allah (swt). They even quoted Quranic
passages to highlight their points. This brother whom I never knew came alive
in my imagination and in my heart, and my ignorance of who he was turned into
deep sorrow at the loss of my brother in Islam. He was a light on that campus
and he was a light for his family. He touched the lives of the many around
him, and, insha'Allah, his story must be remembered by our communities so
that we too may be touched. We must remember the brother we came to know only
through our loss of him. Benjamin Ahmed is gone from this earthly realm, yet
his story must live on with us. His story must become a source of inspiration
to all of us, but most especially to the students of our communities. We must
brave and surpass our barriers and shortcommings so as to fulfill our duty as
Muslims to Allah and to mankind, something Benjamin Ahmed did. He will
forever be a hero in our community, insha'Allah.
I ask Allah to forgive our brother Benjamin Varner and to admit him to
al-Firdous. I ask Allah to guide us and show us the True path. Ameen
wa Assalamu 'alaykum wa rahmatuAllahi wa Barakatu
DC-Council of MSA
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