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Thu. May 16th, 2024

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Muslim men and woman knelt and sat cross legged on the large red prayer mat, bowing their heads and chanting a ghostly cry. They were in mourning and the sadness could be heard in the collection of voices.

Some rocked back and forth hands cupped to their faces, while other sat still, praying along with all the others. The city noise seemed nonexistent, even when it managed to make its way through the cracked door of the mosque from the street.

The Salat al-Janazah, Muslim funeral prayer, was overwhelming.  In front of all the kneeling people and to the side of the imams was the coffin, with a green drape and yellow Arabic script embroidery. The colors shone just as bright inside as when they lifted it out of the hearse.

The body that lay inside of the coffin was Soknha Niang, 49, who was struck by a car and killed while walking back to her own car on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn Monday night. Mourners said their goodbye at the Elhadji Malick sy Masjod on 128th street in Harlem this morning.

Niang worked in Long Island, forcing her to commute two hours to get there from her Staten Island home. On the day of the accident, she had been offered a job in Brooklyn, closer to home. She was on her way home when she was struck by a vehicle and killed.

According to Adam Faye, her brother-in-law, interviewed in an article by DNAinfo, she was leaving Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, where she had been studying for a nursing exam with friends. She left around 9 p.m. and was walking to her car when she dropped something. After picking it up she was walking back when she was struck by a car.

The driver, 37, drove off, claiming that he was unaware that he hit someone. He returned to the scene later. After passing a breathalyzer test and having his license checked it is not expected that he will be charged with a crime.

Family members and relatives say she only had one day off, which she used to pursue her education.  Her dedication to her life and family was expressed by Toumane Diop, who was married to her niece, when he quoted her saying,”‘I have to work hard because I have a family to care of.”

Diop also said that, “she was always smiling,” and, “everyone would go to her when they had a problem.”

“I just lost my big sister….this community has lost someone so valuable,”  said Aminata Kamara, a family friend, who became watery eyed as she spoke. She went on to say that Niang was the kind of person who would call, singing in random moments of joy. “She was the core of this family.”

After the funeral Niang’s body was led by convoy to JFK where it will be flown to Senegal for burial.

Niang is survived by her husband and only daughter.

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