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They arrived by the thousands, pouring in from every corner of the Twin Cities to pay their respects to the five young women killed in a horrific crash on a busy Minneapolis thoroughfare days before.

The mourners packed a football field behind Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington on Monday, where the shrouded bodies of the women — raised in that very mosque — lay resting in wooden trays prepared for burial.

"Ninety-nine percent of you guys didn't know them," Sheikh Saciid Shire told a sea of grieving Somali Americans and a dozen public officials before traditional Janazah funeral prayers. "But these young sisters … were righteous to their parents. May Allah have mercy on them."

Under the beating afternoon sun, male relatives gathered at the front of the field silently wiped away tears as they recited the blessing over the young women — each beloved scholars and community leaders. Their lives were extinguished in an instant when a speeding motorist ran a red light in south Minneapolis last weekend, broadsiding their vehicle as they returned home from the mall.

Those killed were: Sabiriin Ali, 17, of Bloomington, a recent Edina High School graduate who planned to study medicine at the University of Minnesota; Sahra Gesaade, 20, of Brooklyn Center, a third-year student at the U's Rochester campus; Salma Abdikadir, 20, of St. Louis Park, a second-year student at Normandale Community College; Sagal Hersi, 19, of Minneapolis, a student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College; and Siham Adam, 19, of Minneapolis, a student at the U.

All attended services, volunteered and taught at the mosque for many years. Salma educated elementary-age students on the Qur'an and Islamic studies, while Sabiriin was known as a diligent caretaker of the building.

"These girls were not just ordinary girls," said Abdulahi Farah, a board member of the Bloomington mosque. "They practically grew up at Dar Al-Farooq and were loved by the community. So this loss is touching all of us. But today is just a testament of who they were and what impact they had on the community."

News of their sudden deaths came as a shock to the broader Somali diaspora in Minnesota, and many are still struggling to make sense of the tragedy. The crash sparked an outpouring of support — an online fundraiser for the young women's families had raised more than $377,000 as of Monday evening — and elicited condolences from around the world.

Hundreds of local Somali Americans and fellow Muslims attended the services, which required an outdoor venue to accommodate such a large turnout.

Islamic custom dictates that the deceased are given a ritual bath, then placed in a white shroud on a wooden tray, rather than a casket. That typically happens at a Burnsville mosque, where funeral prayers are recited just before burial, community leaders said.

But organizers were forced to plan a two-part event because that space could not accommodate the number of mourners. So they stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the football field to pray before the bodies in what was thought to be among the largest public funerals in the state. Eleven buses then shuttled mourners to the Garden of Eden Islamic Cemetery in Burnsville, where they clustered around the freshly dug graves for the burial.

"We have a lot of death every day, but none as painful as this," said Abdirahman Kahin, co-owner of the Afro Deli restaurant chain. "The whole state of Minnesota is united."

Typically, Muslims are buried within 24 hours whenever possible. However, the severity of the crash made it difficult to identify the individual victims and required DNA testing.

The women were on their way home Friday night after having henna applied at Karmel Mall and running last-minute errands before a friend's wedding the next day.

A speeding motorist on Interstate 35W ran a red light while exiting at Lake Street in south Minneapolis, T-boning the sedan carrying the women with such force that it pushed their vehicle more than 50 feet. All five died at the scene of blunt force injuries.

The suspected driver, later identified as 27-year-old Derrick Thompson, allegedly blew past a parked state trooper going more than 95 mph in a 55-mph zone. The trooper had not yet activated its lights or sirens when it began to follow the SUV and, police say, and could not catch up to initiate a traffic stop.

Thompson, of Brooklyn Park, was also injured during the impact and fled, bleeding, toward a nearby Taco Bell immediately following the collision. Bystanders called 911 and authorities transported him to HCMC, where he was tested for drugs or alcohol and treated for a broken hip. Thompson was booked into the Hennepin County jail late Monday afternoon for probable cause murder. Criminal charges are pending.

Amid lingering questions about what led up to the collision, mosque officials said they want to minimize distractions and focus on the families still aching from their loss.

"We want to make sure we take care of them," said Khalid Omar, director of Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center, who has been in close contact with the families. "Anything after that can wait."

On Monday evening, mourners descended upon the cemetery for the Islamic sendoff. Onlookers poured water on their heads as temperatures rose into the 90s. Several people required medical attention after passing out from apparent heat exhaustion.

At the cemetery an imam recited prayers as relatives slowly lowered each woman's body down into their individual graves. Family members wept and embraced as, one by one, their fathers shoveled the first scoop of dirt onto their daughters.

A long line of men stepped forward to continue the symbolic gesture, until each grave was filled. Five young women, inseparable in life, now were laid to rest for eternity beside one another.

Star Tribune staff writer Faiza Mahamud contributed to this report.