Her parents - Isma'il Raji Faruqi, 65, an internationally known Islamic scholar who taught at Temple University, and his wife, Lois Faruqi, 60, an author and lecturer - are to be buried today. Their deaths have brought condolences from Muslim nations and Islamic scholars around the world.
Police are investigating whether the Faruqis' deaths were related to their Middle Eastern ties or were a result of a burglary gone awry.
Yesterday, through a lawyer, the family issued its first statement since the killings, which occurred about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Faruqi home in the 300 block of Bent Road in Wyncote, a wealthy section of Cheltenham.
Attorney David Assad Jr. said the Faruqi children were grateful to township police, the Montgomery County district attorney's office and the FBI, whom local police called for assistance, for their "professionalism, courtesy and understanding."
"We are in the process of grieving for our parents," the brief statement said.
Assad declined to answer reporters' questions and said the family "wishes the press to back off." He declined to elaborate.
Police said that based on evidence found in the neighborhood, they believe the assailant fled on foot and therefore was from the area. "He ran past a couple of houses that we know of, and that's where some evidence was found. Nobody heard a car," one investigator said, declining further comment.
A screwdriver apparently used to break into the house and the leather sheath for the 15-inch survival knife used in the killings were found in a curbside trash can two doors down from the Faruqis. The knife, described by police as a "Rambo-type" weapon, was found in the house.
Police also have fingerprints, some from the bloodied lid of the trash can.
Although investigators have not ruled out a political motivation for the killings, they have noted the sloppiness of the attack and the abundance of evidence left behind. The crime does not appear to be the work of a professional killer, they said.
Investigators believe that Lois Faruqi, who was awake that night and working or reading upstairs, came downstairs and surprised the intruder, who had pried open a window in the pantry next to the kitchen. He stabbed her at least twice.
Zein, who awoke to her mother's screams, was stabbed six times in the chest and arms and required 200 stitches. Her father was stabbed and hacked 13 times in the chest and abdomen, according to Montgomery County Coroner Theodore Garcia. Another Faruqi daughter and a grandson hid in a closet and were not harmed.
Police are searching for a black man in his 30s who is 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighs more than 200 pounds and has a smooth complexion and a pot belly. The composite sketch shows a man wearing a hat and a scarf across the lower half of his face; only his eyes are visible.
Isma'il and Lois Faruqi are to be buried today at Forest Hills Cemetery in Lower Moreland Township after a 2:30 p.m. funeral at Masjid Muhammad mosque, 4700 Wyalusing Ave. in West Philadelphia.
Temple University has scheduled a memorial service in Sullivan Hall's Feinstone Lounge for 2 p.m. Monday.