CSUF alumnus survives suicide bomber’s attack

By Brandon Angel

On Monday, former student and graduate of Cal State Fullerton’s business school, Adam Motiwala, 24, was injured during a deadly suicide attack at the United Nations food agency’s Pakistani headquarters

“There was a huge bang, and something hit me. I fell to the floor bleeding,” said Motiwala to the Associated Press.

Motiwala, alumnus from the class of 2006, was a former president of the Muslim Students Association at CSUF. Motiwala was born in Orange, Calif. His parents, Abdul, 60, and Zahida, 45, raised him in Diamond Bar.

Motiwala, an information officer for the World Food Program, suffered injuries to his head and legs and bruising to his stomach. Shrapnel from the suicide bomber was found in his head behind his ear, as well as in his ankles. Motiwala was last reported to be in stable condition and is being held at a hospital in Pakistan. He was the only American citizen to suffer injuries from the incident

The suicide bomber, who was described as being in his 20s, detonated the explosives in the lobby according to the AP. In order to gain access into the building, the attacker dressed as a paramilitary uniform officer and asked if he could use the restroom. It was said that he had about 18 pounds of explosives. It is unusual for someone to infiltrate the U.N. building because typically security is very tight, and the building is located in a wealthy neighborhood inside of Islamabad. The Taliban are looking for new targets and have vowed to continue to attack the Pakistani government and the U.S., as long as they both continue with drone attacks against the Taliban

According to Sameerah Motiwala, his wife, he was working for the WFP in Islamabad, Pakistan, in his office in the U.N. building when the blast occurred. A lone suicide bomber attacked the U.N. building in Islamabad killing five others. At least two of the victims were women. Motiwala was a friend of one of the victims

Sameerah Motiwala also said that doctors have not cleared him for operation because they are afraid that surgery may put him more at risk. However, Motiwala is expected to have surgery, just not in Pakistan. She also said that it is the U.N.’s policy to provide medical treatment to those who work for the organization who were affected by the bombing. The U.N. is planning to move Motiwala to Dubai, which is the largest state in the United Arab Emirates or back to the U.S. Dubai and the U.S. have larger medical facilities that will be able to give the proper care to Motiwala.

“As of right now he is in a lot of pain, but overall, he’s OK. He’s more in a state of shock from what just happened to him and others. Many Americans don’t know and understand what’s going on around the world. It’s a large and devastating situation out in Pakistan. Adam is there to help those in need as well as bring awareness to the issues that exist in the world,” said Sameerah Motiwala.

Adam and Sameera have been married for 16 months. They both met at CSUF where Adam was working toward his bachelor’s degree and Sameerah toward her master’s. Sameerah graduated from UC Davis and lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

Motiwalla quit his job as an information technology consultant at Deloitte, a major international and accounting firm and joined the WFP in September because he wanted to serve others, “which is something he holds dear in his heart and firmly believes in,” said Sameerah Motiwala.
Motiwala’s friend Medhi M. Islam, 36, who works for Human Resources in the Diversity and Equity Programs at CSUF, spoke about Motiwala. “Adam is an amazing guy and friend. He’s sociable and always active. He’s a humanitarian. At Deloitte & Touche he was making significantly more money, and he quit to take less money and work for the WFP just so that he could help others, but that’s just the type of person Adam is. He’s all about helping others. Hopefully the people responsible for this heinous crime will be brought to justice.”

When asked if his son would leave the WFP after what took place, Abdul Motiwala responded, “My son is a good man, and it’s his passion to help others. All I’m worried about is his health but, in knowing my son, I believe that he will continue to help others no matter what because helping others is what he is all about.”

About Brandon Angel