By Rachel Kuipers and Carly Kempler
When Farhad Siddique spoke, people around him always listened.
“He was just so gentle, so, just, calm and collected, and he only spoke if he had something of value to say,” said Sam Lewis, a senior mechanical engineering major. “So many people today just talk whatever’s on their mind — they’re just trying to make conversation. [When] he opened his mouth, people would stop talking.”
Siddique, a University of Maryland junior neurobiology and physiology major from Bel Air, died Wednesday night in what police believe to be a murder-suicide involving his father, Nasir Siddique. He was 19.
For the campus community, Siddique’s death leaves a noticeable impact.
“Our hearts are saddened by the loss of Farhad Siddique, a dear friend and brother to many in the University of Maryland community,” the Muslim Student Association wrote in a statement released Thursday. “He is remembered as a hardworking, compassionate individual who helped others in any way he could. May Allah grant him and his family Jannatul Firdous, the highest level of paradise.”
On the campus, Siddique was an active member of the Muslim Student Association and the Student Health Advisory Committee, which works in tandem with the University Health Center. He was also an avid tennis player.
Siddique joined the Student Health Advisory Committee last year, and had returned this semester, wrote the organization’s president, Elliott Rebello, in an email.
Siddique was a dedicated member, Rebello wrote, and “driven to improving the quality of the services the University Health Center provides to the campus community.”
“SHAC and the UHC will certainly feel his loss,” Rebello wrote. “He had a gentle spirit and was truly passionate about his studies and career goals.”
He was really good at tennis, said Lewis, who met Siddique in elementary school and played tennis with him for several years. The two students’ dads used to talk at their tennis matches because they were both lieutenant colonels, Lewis said.
Other members of the campus community, including Siddique’s freshman year roommate, junior economics major Brent McGuire, remain stunned by his death.
“[He was a] very genuine person who really seemed to be enjoying the college experience. He went home every weekend for the most part,” McGuire said. “I thought it was a good relationship because he was always going home. It’s definitely shocking. He was a great guy in my opinion.”
Junior physiology and neurobiology major Jessica Joe only met Siddique this semester, but in just a few weeks, she said they became friends during a shared lab class.
“He was really sweet; he was kind of shy at first, but we all got to know each other, [we] all had a good time even though it was physics class,” Joe said. “Him and I as lab partners, we’d always make silly jokes. He was always smiling.”
Joe knew something was wrong when Siddique didn’t show up to lab Thursday morning, she said.
“I saw the article [Thursday] without any names in it — he wasn’t in lab [Thursday] and we thought he slept in or something,” Joe said. “…Then I saw the updated article later in the day with his name in it, and it really hit me hard, because I never would’ve expected … anything like this to happen to him.
The Islamic Society of Baltimore held a funeral prayer for Siddique on Saturday following the 1:30 p.m. afternoon prayer.
Siddique’s family did not respond to requests for comment. He is survived by a sister, Laila, who is a student at Penn State College of Medicine.
This article will be updated as information for Siddique’s funeral becomes available.
Diamondback staff contributed to this report.