Baraka and I met in Cambridge through mutual friends. We both got involved in launching a (short-lived yet ambitious) student-run journal of politics. I remember her attending the meetings, always being full of energy, a great sense of humour and good ideas despite the heavy work load she had to deal with. She also sent the most hilarious, poetic emails!
I was deeply impressed by her commitment to her faith — I remember her mentioning that she got up for morning prayers when it was still dark outside, when I could barely get out of bed no matter what time of the day! Growing up in Austria, I had never been in close contact with a religious, Muslim woman before I met Baraka. She has forever shaped my image of what it means to believe and made me admire her beautiful, devout life.
For my final year dissertation, I was researching religious parenting and asked her for help with recruiting participants in the Muslim community. She generously offered to distribute my flyers at the community meetings she attended.
I still remember the last time I saw her: It was around the time of our graduation and I was walking through town in Cambridge together with my parents, when we bumped into Baraka. She spoke German remarkably well and greeted my parents in their native language — which left us deeply impressed of my amazing friend Baraka!
I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with Baraka. May her family have the strength to cope with this enormous loss. Baraka has touched my life in subtle, yet deep ways and her spirit will live forever in my heart.