Despite the police in the US saying the murder of a teenage Muslim girl was a road rage, her family and community believe it was a hate crime.
The brutal murder of a 17-year-old Muslim girl, Nabra Hassanen in the United States of America on Sunday, June 18, 2017, as she left a Mosque, has been seen as a hate crime.
Aljazeera reports that the death of the teenager who was attacked with a baseball bat may be related to religionespecially her memorial was set ablaze by unknown persons.
The memorial of Hassanen who was bludgeoned to death after leaving her Mosque in Virginia was set on fire early Wednesday, June 21, further increasing speculation that her death was a hate crime.
A 24-year-old suspect, Jonathon Soloman of South Carolina, was arrested and charged with vandalism just as police spokeswoman, Sergeant Anna Rose, told Al Jazeera via email that ‘the memorial did not appear to be specifically targeted’.
However, the attacks on the victim and on her memorial have caused some to suspect that bigotry was a factor in both cases.
According to police reports, the teenager was with a group of her friends after prayers on Sunday morning when they had an altercation with one Darwin Martinez Torres, who has been arrested and is accused of beating Hassanen with a baseball bat and disposing of her body in a pond.
The spokesman for the Hassanen family, Abas Sherif, told the media that Nabra and the other girls in her group were wearing the hijab and loose clothing when the attack occurred.
Nabra’s father, Mahmoud Hassanen, said he believed it was a hate crime, regardless of what the police have said.
Ibrahim Hooper, media director for the Council on American-Islamic Affairs (CAIR), the nation’s largest grassroots Muslim civil rights organization, said his group would work with police to unravel the motive behind Nabra’s murder.
“We’re obviously concerned about it – and the possible motive behind it. We’ll be working with law enforcement to see if there was any bias to this action, or if it was just a random act.”
The funeral of Nabra which had more than 5,000 in attendance, was held at the All Dallas Area Muslim Society, in Sterling, Virginia, one of the largest mosques in the United States,
The FBI defines a hate crime as a ‘criminal offense against a person or property motivated by an offender’s bias against a certain race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity.’