This past week, 32-year-old mother of five Shaima Alawadi was found brutally beaten in her El Cajon, California, home, her head bashed in with a tire iron. She was taken unconscious to a local hospital, but just three days later her family opted to take her off life support. She died this past Saturday.
While police still haven’t officially labeled Alawadi’s death a hate crime, it’s clear that Alawadi’s ethnic and religious background was on the minds of the perpetrators. A note was left at the scene of the crime, and though police aren’t saying what the note said, they did reveal that a similar note was left at the house the previous month. Said Alawadi’s 17-year-old daughter Fatima, “A week ago they left a letter saying this is our country not yours you terrorist, and so my mom ignored that thinking it was just kids playing a prank. But the day they hit her, they left another note again, and it said the same thing.”
A Facebook campaign seeking justice for Shaima Alawadi has been launched, and so far more than 4,000 people have pledged their online support. Explains Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter, the idea is similar to the Trayvon Martin Million Hoodie campaign. “Trayvon was black wearing a hoodie. Shaima was wearing a hijab. It’s the same racist principle at play that killed both of these individuals.”
The government in Alawadi’s native Iraq has demanded that her body be flown to Baghdad so that an official investigation can be launched. “We deplore this hideous crime that took place in a country calls itself the land of democracy, freedoms and freedom of religious,” said Iraqi lawmaker Alliyah Nisayef. “The parliament will take a serious position on this. Iraqi Foreign Affairs Ministry must now officially ask the U.S. Embassy and the Department of State for more details on this hideous crime.”
Alawadi and her family emigrated to the U.S. in 2005. [Huffington Post]