Savage killing of Iraqi mother in California – it looks like hijabs scare bigots as much as hoodies

California police say an Iraqi-born mother of five who was beaten to death may have been the victim of a hate crime. The killer of Shaima Alawadi, 32, left a note reportedly reading: “Go back to your own country. You’re a terrorist.”

Alawadi, an immigrant, died on Saturday after the attack last Wednesday. Police said her 17-year-old daughter, Fatima, found her unconscious in the dining room of the family’s home in El Cajon, California at about 11:15am. Alawadi died soon after being taken off a hospital life support machine…

According to El Cajon police lieutenant Mark Coit, the family told the police that another threatening note had been found earlier this month outside their home. But they told police that they had not reported it after dismissing it as a prank…

The attack had been a shock to the Muslim community in the area, said Hanif Mohebi, director of the San Diego chapter of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group. He had been speaking to the family. “The family is still numb. They are trying to figure it all out,” he said. He said there had been an outpouring of support for the family from across California and the nation…

El Cajon is a conservative city of 100,000 people 15 miles from San Diego that has become popular with Iraqi immigrants. The city is home to some 40,000 Iraqis, the second largest such community in the US after Detroit…

The family had only recently moved from Michigan to a house on a suburban street in El Cajon. A family friend, Sura Alzaidy, told a San Diego newspaper that the attack apparently happened after Kassim Al Hamidi, Alawadi’s husband, had taken the couple’s younger children to school. Alzaidy told the newspaper that Alawadi had been a “respectful, modest muhajiba,” meaning she wears the traditional hijab headscarf.

Al Himidi and Alawadi migrated from Iraq to the United States in about 1993, according to local reports. Al Himidi had worked as a defence contractor in San Diego, serving as a cultural adviser to train soldiers preparing for duty in the Middle East.

There have been hate crimes in the past but I have not seen anything like this,” said Mohebi. “At the end of the day there are a very small number of people who act upon such ignorance. In general our neighbours are supportive of the community.”

There is no shortage of stupid people in the United States who equate the wearing of a hijab with wearing a hoodie. Simple articles of clothing popular in different communities for different reasons – strike terror in the hearts of bigots who choose violence and murder to resolve their fear.

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