Sunday, 25 March 2012

Muslim Woman Beaten to Death in Hate Crime (California)

EL CAJON, Calif. — A 32-year-old woman from Iraq who was found severely beaten next to a threatening note saying "go back to your country" died on Saturday.

Hanif Mohebi, the director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he met with Shaima Alawadi's family members in the morning and was told that she was taken off life support around 3 p.m.

"The family is in shock at the moment. They're still trying to deal with what happened," Mohebi said.

Alawadi, a mother of five, had been hospitalized since her 17-year-old daughter found her unconscious Wednesday in the family's house in El Cajon, police Lt. Steve Shakowski said.

The daughter, Fatima Al Himidi, told KUSI-TV her mother had been beaten on the head repeatedly with a tire iron, and that the note said "go back to your country, you terrorist."A family friend told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the mother of five was a “respectful modest muhajiba,” meaning she wore the hijab. The family had recently moved to California from Michigan.

Police said they believe the attack was an isolated incident, reports the Associated Press. “A hate crime is one of the possibilities, and we will be looking at that,” Lt. Mark Coit of the El Cajon police said. “We don't want to focus on only one issue and miss something else.”

The case is getting lots of attention in social networks, where Alawadi was quickly compared to Trayvon Martin, who was shot in Florida while wearing a hoodie. A Facebook page called One Million Hijabs for Shaima Alawadi has already been set up.

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