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Maryland Couple Dies on Sweltering Pilgrimage to Mecca

Their daughter says tour company left them without food, transportation
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2024 1:30 AM CDT
Maryland Couple Dies on Sweltering Pilgrimage to Mecca
Muslim pilgrims use umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun as they arrive to cast stones at pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, June 18, 2024.   (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

Among the more than 1,300 people who died during this year's sweltering Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca was a couple from Maryland who'd made the trek to Saudi Arabia for the annual Islamic journey. "Alhaji Alieu Dausy and Haja Isatu Wurie passed away during a pilgrimage to Mecca due to the severe heat," US Senate candidate Angela Alsobrooks posted on X, calling the news "devastating." Wurie, 65, was active with Alsobrooks' campaign, and she and her husband, 71, were both very involved with their local community, their daughter tells DC News Now. They are believed to have died of heat stroke, she tells CNN.

Their daughter says her mom was a retired nurse who was a member of the African Diaspora Advisory Board and the Jamil-Ul-Jalil Organization, and that her parents' Muslim faith was important to them. "Knowing that this is what they really want to do, and they died in such a holy place. It gives me a little bit of ease," she says. But she says the Maryland-based touring company they traveled with was not prepared for the journey, leaving pilgrims to "fend for themselves" after just a few days in the 110-plus degree heat. Maryland says the company is not in good standing with the state. The couple's daughter says they saved their whole lives to pay for the journey, which she believes cost them $11,500 each. (More Hajj stories.)

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