Archive for Shaima Alawadi

Shaima AlAwadi’s Murder Less Likely to Be a Hate Crime

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2012 by loonwatch

Shaima_AlAwadi

Shaima AlAwadi

New facts emerging in the Shaima AlAwadi murder case reveal a family in turmoil, and though we have not reached the end of the investigation, it seems the turmoil within the family has cast doubt on the likelihood that Alawadi’s murder was a hate crime.

The uncertainty and dearth of facts surrounding the case is why at the time I wrote,

*We cannot conclude anything at this point, some facts have been presented, such as the note but we will have to wait for the police investigation to relay more information on this crime.

Of course the hatemongerers, the same people who were quick to attribute the Oklahoma City bombings to Muslims, the terrorist shooting rampage by Anders Breivik to Muslims and many more such incidents are receiving the news with glee. Islamophobes are already jumping to the conclusion that the murder is an “honor killing” though there is no evidence for such a claim.

In any case lets hope justice is served and the murderer identified and sentenced.

We will pen an update about this case as more facts are presented and also discuss the ramifications and the critical distance necessary when presented with an ambiguous murder:

Police Records Suggest Death Isn’t a Hate Crime | NBC San Diego

Police records obtained from the murder of an El Cajon woman nearly two weeks ago suggest the it may not be a hate crime.

The records reveal new information about a possible suspect and a police call made to police — in late January — by the victim herself: Shaima Alawadi.

This case has received national attention because some believe it could be a hate crime. But recently obtained records could paint a different picture.

Alawadi, 32, was found bloodied and beaten inside this home on March 21. Her 17-year-old daughter Fatima found her on the floor of their dining room – a piece of paper nearby. That note and one the family found earlier in the month — has left some fearing terrorism.

“It said this is my country, go back to yours…terrorist,” Alawadi’s son Mohammed said in an interview last week.

But police are continuing to call this an “isolated incident” and no arrests have been made.

Police records reveal on the day of the crime –a neighbor gave police a description–of a possible suspect. An unidentified witness spotted a young man running from the crime scene.

The suspect is described as a “darker skinned boy in his late teens or early 20s … with a skinny build, carrying a donut shaped cardboard box.”

The suspect was seen at 10:30 a.m., about 45 minutes before Alawadi’s 17-year-old daughter called 911.

Police would not comment on these records — which also reveal — Alawadi called the police herself nearly two months earlier to report her 17 year old daughter missing.

On Jan. 31 Alawadi reported the girl had been missing for 2 hours, but the call was cancelled 20 minutes later when the 17-year-old was located.

The investigation is ongoing.

NYTimes: Killing of Iraqi Woman Leaves Immigrant Community Shaken

Posted in Loon People, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2012 by loonwatch

Alawadi

Alawadi’s daughter

Background on El Cajon, CA in light of the tragic murder and possible hate crime against Shaima AlAwadi:

Killing of Iraqi Woman Leaves Immigrant Community Shaken

By IAN LOVETT and WILL CARLESS (NYTimes)
Published: March 27, 2012

EL CAJON, Calif. — Shaima Alawadi’s family says they found the first note taped to the front door of their house on a quiet suburban street here. It said: “This is my country. Go back to yours, terrorist,” according to her 15-year-old son Mohammed.

Like many others in the neighborhood, Ms. Alawadi and her husband, Kassim Alhimidi, are immigrants from Iraq. Mr. Alhimidi says he wanted to call the police. But his wife said no, insisting the note was only a child’s prank. In 17 years in the United States, they had been called terrorists before, he said.

But last Wednesday, her 17-year-old daughter found Ms. Alawadi in their dining room, lying unconscious in a puddle of blood with a severe head wound. Nearby lay another threatening note, similar to the one the family found a week earlier.

Ms. Alawadi, 32, died three days later, and the police say they are still trying to determine whether she was, indeed, targeted because of her religion or ethnicity, calling that just one possibility.

“At this point, we are not calling it a hate crime,” said Lt. Mark Coit of the El Cajon police department. “We haven’t made that determination. We are calling it an isolated incident, because we don’t have any evidence of anything similar going on at this point.”

Isolated or not, the crime has shattered the sense of security for Iraqi immigrants in El Cajon, exposing cultural tensions and distrust that have often simmered just below the surface since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Hanif Mohebi, director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that many Muslim women in the area were worried that Ms. Alawadi had been targeted because she wore a headscarf in public, as many observant Muslim women do.

“The majority of the community that wears scarves are concerned,” Mr. Mohebi said. He cautioned against a rush to judgment before the police had finished investigating. Still, he added, “the community has gone through some hate crimes before, and the assumption the people have is that they’re going through one now.”

Just two decades ago, El Cajon, just northeast of San Diego, was largely white and English-speaking. But as wars in their homelands pushed more and more Iraqis and other people to emigrate, the Middle Eastern population here has exploded. El Cajon now houses one of the largest Iraqi communities in the country. Middle Eastern groceries and restaurants dot both sides of Main Street, while on the sidewalks, many families stroll by speaking only in Arabic.

Ms. Alawadi and her family moved to the United States from Saudi Arabia in 1995, after fleeing Iraq during the first Gulf War. They have five children, and, for the most part, Mr. Alhimidi said, the neighbors made them feel welcome.

Still, even before this month, he was already familiar with the kind of language he says was on the notes left at his house.

“Some neighbors, I say ‘hi’ to them, and they just turn away,” Mr. Alhimidi said in Arabic, with his son Mohammed translating. “More than 95 percent of the time, I feel welcome. But once in a while, people shout at you. They shout ‘terrorist,’ or ‘go back to your country.’ ”

Most people in town lamented Ms. Alawadi’s killing as a tragedy. Janet Ilko, a middle school teacher, said the news had come as a shock to students.

“It was upsetting to everyone,” Ms. Ilko, 47, said. “Our community is very close-knit. Our students get along very well. People have been here a long time.”

But tension between the newcomers from the Middle East and some of the town’s other residents was also readily apparent on Main Street, even this week. One woman, 30, who was at a park with her children and refused to give her name, called the city’s Iraqi residents “territorial,” adding, “maybe because we are at war with them.” She said her own background was Mexican, though she had grown up in Southern California.

That tension extends to non-Muslims as well.

“I’ve lived here for 32 years, and I’ve been told many times to go back to my country,” said Sascha Atta, an immigrant from Afghanistan. “Here in El Cajon, most of the Iraqis are not even Muslim, they are Christian, but people don’t know the difference.”

One of those Iraqi Christians is Lara Yalda, 18, who fled the country with her family in 2004, living in Syria for six years before coming to El Cajon, where she is now in high school. She said that last year one teacher told all of the Iraqi students to go back to their country, complaining that they took welfare and other money from the United States. That teacher does not teach Iraqi students any more but still works at the school, she said.

Ms. Yalda said Ms. Alawadi’s death frightened her.

“Yeah, I’m scared,” Ms. Yalda said. “I feel sad, because here it is a free country, and there is no reason to kill her. She has a family. So why they kill her? ”

The killing does not make sense to Ms. Alawadi’s son Mohammed either.

“There’s only three people that know what happened,” he said. “God, my mom and the guy who did it.”

Juan Cole: Basic Facts on Clothing and Murder for American Bigots

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2012 by loonwatch

Hard hitting piece from Juan Cole, addressed to the bigots (h/t:BA):

Basic Facts on Clothing and Murder for American Bigots

(Informed Comment)

Dear American bigots:

Basic Fact: Wearing a veil, as Iraqi-American Shaima al-Awady did before she was brutally murdered in her home as part of a hate crime, does not make a person a terrorist. You don’t mind it when pious Roman Catholic women wear a nun’s habit, and you recognize that dress as a sign of dedication to God. You don’t blame all the violence ever committed by Roman Catholics, or events like the Inquisition, on a nun in your neighborhood. Be as tolerant to pious Muslim women.

Basic Fact: Wearing a hoodie is not an invitation to murder, as Geraldo Rivera suggested it was in the case of Trayvon Martin. In fact, if you think about it, St. Francis of Assisi wore a hood, as did many other saints and monks. In the United States, we don’t kill people for how they dress, but how dressing like St. Francis is a crime is a special mystery.

Basic Fact: And, by the way, there is nothing worse than being both a bigot and a f*ck-up. So for God’s sake leave the poor Sikhs alone. Few Muslim men wear turbans, so if you see someone with a turban and a beard, he is likely from Indian Punjab and not a Muslim. I mean, you shouldn’t be bothering Muslims either, but your sad ass is definitely going to clown hell if you shoot down a Sikh because you mistook him for a Muslim.

Basic Fact: And by the way, all this emphasis on clothing as a motive for murder is just a smokescreen for sidestepping the real issue, which is that bigots shouldn’t be allowed to have hand guns. In fact, since you can’t hunt deer with a hand gun and most owners of a hand gun are not reservists in the National Guard of their state, it is unclear why the US tolerates so many hand guns. In countries like Britain, which do not, the murder rate by gun is vanishingly small compared to the annual carnage in the US.

Shaima Alawadi: Iraqi Muslim Woman Severely Beaten, Note Near Her Body Read, “Go back to your own country. You’re a terrorist.”

Posted in Feature, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2012 by loonwatch

Shaima_AlAwadi

Shaima AlAwadi

A hijab wearing Iraqi woman has been severely beaten and is not expected to recover from a violent attack on her inside of her home near San Diego.

Apparently this was a premeditated attack. A similar note to the one found by Shaima Alawadi’s body was found by the Alawadi family earlier this month, but the family dismissed it as a “prank.”

USAToday reports:

A family friend, Sura Alzaidy, told the newspaper UT San Diego that the attack apparently occurred after the father took the younger children to school.

Was someone scoping the house out before the attack, waiting for an opportune moment to strike?

A woman’s life has most likely been taken as she is not expected to survive the gruesome attack. What motivated this individual to do something so grisly? If what Alzaidy told the newspaper is true, and we see no reason why it wouldn’t be, clearly we are witnessing an attack motivated by hatred and bigotry.

Islamophobes will try and claim another Muslim did this, but how then do they explain the note?

*I want to point out that we cannot conclude anything at this point, some facts have been presented, such as the note but we will have to wait for the police investigation to relay more information on this crime.

California: Muslim woman’s attacker left note reading ‘Go back to your own country. You’re a terrorist’

A 32-year-old woman was critically injured and not expected to survive after an assault in her El Cajon home on Wednesday, police said Friday, and a threatening note telling the mother of five to go back to her home country was found near her, a family friend said.

The woman’s 17-year-old daughter found her unconscious in the dining room of the house on Skyview Street off Lemon Avenue about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, said El Cajon police Lt. Steve Shakowski. Police identified her as Shaima Alawadi.

“Based on the type of injuries Alawadi sustained, and other evidence retrieved at the scene, this case is being investigated as a homicide,” Shakowski said.

Police did not disclose the contents of the note. Sura Alzaidy, a family friend, said it told the family to “go back to your own country. You’re a terrorist.” The family is from Iraq, and Alawadi is a “respectful modest muhajiba,” meaning she wears the traditional hijab, a head scarf, Alzaidy said.

El Cajon police Lt. Mark Coit said the family stated they had found a similar note earlier this month, however did not report it to authorities.

The daughter who found her mother told KUSI Channel 9/51 on Friday night that her mother had been beaten on the head repeatedly with a tire iron. She said her mother had dismissed the previous note, found outside the house, thinking it was a child’s prank.

**********************************

Update I: Shaima Alawadi has succumbed to her injuries according to this youtube user who uploaded video of Alawadi’s daughter being interviewed:

Update II:  EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) — 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.”

Addressing the camera, the tearful daughter asked: “You took my mother away from me. You took my best friend away from me. Why? Why did you do it?”

Police said the family had found a similar note earlier this month but did not report it to authorities.

Al Himidi told KGTV-TV her mother dismissed the first note, found outside the home, as a child’s prank.

A family friend, Sura Alzaidy, told UT San Diego (http://bit.ly/GYbfB7) that the attack apparently occurred after the father took the younger children to school. Alzaidy told the newspaper the family is from Iraq, and that Alawadi is a “respectful modest muhajiba,” meaning she wears the traditional hijab, a head scarf.

Investigators said they believe the assault is an isolated incident.

“A hate crime is one of the possibilities, and we will be looking at that,” Lt. Mark Coit said. “We don’t want to focus on only one issue and miss something else.”

The family had lived in the house in San Diego County for only a few weeks, after moving from Michigan, Alzaidy said. Alzaidy told the newspaper her father and Alawadi’s husband had previously worked together in San Diego as private contractors for the U.S. Army, serving as cultural advisers to train soldiers who were going to be deployed to the Middle East.

Mohebi said the family had been in the United States since the mid-1990s.

He said it was unfortunate that the family didn’t report the initial threatening note.

“Our community does face a lot of discriminatory, hate incidents and don’t always report them,” Mohebi said. “They should take these threats seriously and definitely call local law enforcement.”

El Cajon, northeast of downtown San Diego, is home to some 40,000 Iraqi immigrants, the second largest such community in the U.S. after Detroit.

Update III:  Reporting from San Diego— El Cajon police are asking for the public’s help in its investigation into the fatal beating of an Iraqi immigrant and have not ruled out the possibility that Shaima Alawadi was the victim of a hate crime.

“We’re investigating all aspects of this crime,” Lt. Mark Coit said Sunday. “The minute you rule out a possible motive, you start to get tunnel vision. As of now, we have not ruled out any of the motives for why people kill people.”

Near the body of the 32-year-old Alawadi, police found what has been described as a threatening note. Police have declined to release the text, but relatives and friends say the handwritten note warned Alawadi to “go back to your own country” and labeled her a terrorist.

The family told police they had received a similarly threatening note several days earlier but considered it a prank by teenagers.

Alawadi was found unconscious Wednesday morning in the dining room of the family’s home by her 17-year-old daughter. She was taken to a hospital, where she was diagnosed as brain-dead. Her family decided on Saturday to discontinue life support.

Police said that whatever the motive, the attack appears to be “an isolated event,” not part of an overall pattern of violence toward immigrants.

Coit said police are unsure about the murder weapon but that Alawadi was beaten with a large object.

Alawadi’s husband had reportedly left earlier to take the couple’s younger children to school.

Alawadi and her husband had moved to El Cajon from a Detroit suburb several weeks ago. The two areas are considered the most popular destinations for Iraqi immigrants to the United States.