ONTD Political

Iraqi woman severely beaten in Calif. home dies

5:40 am - 03/25/2012
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 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.

Source

Between the subject above, this shit and someone spewing all sorts of vile nonsense about multiculturalism being anti-white... I just want to scream and break down completely.
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lux_roark 25th-Mar-2012 03:31 am (UTC)
I live in El Cajon and unfortunately that sentiment of "go back to where you came from" is common around here.
oceandezignz 25th-Mar-2012 04:12 am (UTC)
I cannot believe I have not heard about this until seeing it on LJ - and I live no more than 30 minutes (on a good day on the 5) away from you.

I agree its too common, even up in Carlsbad - but its still awful and tragic and after already crying from seeing Hunger Games, I'mma go punch my walls now.
webbgirl 25th-Mar-2012 03:36 am (UTC)
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.

And also home to more than it's fair share of "good ol' boys".

My family wonders why I moved away and don't come back to visit.
evilgmbethy 25th-Mar-2012 03:43 am (UTC)
oh my god, this is so awful. This poor woman. I hope they find the monster that did this.
carminaburana 25th-Mar-2012 03:46 am (UTC)
What in fuck. This is horrifying and infuriating (and as an arab-american, pretty scary to read). That poor woman and her poor family. :(

This is not just a hate incident, it's MURDER.
draion 25th-Mar-2012 03:46 am (UTC)
Seriously about to cry. This is fucking revolting, and I can't imagine how her five kids must feel.

I hope to everything that the culprit rots in every way imaginable. I'm so tired of stories like these.
jessyryan 25th-Mar-2012 04:00 am (UTC)
I'm crying. Fuck everything. This should be EVERYWHERE on the news and the pos needs to rot in prison. Shit like this makes me ashamed of America tbh.
deevee45 25th-Mar-2012 04:12 am (UTC)
This is truly horrifying... but I would not be surprised if it turned out to be something else and the note was made up. I think the thing that struck me was that she had a child who was 17, and she was 32, and that she already has five children. Maybe I'm off base... no matter what, truly heartbreaking that she died a horrific death.
spyral_path 25th-Mar-2012 04:19 am (UTC)
Two of my friends were married with children by the time they were sixteen and all three of my father's sisters married in their mid teens. Stuff happens. It doesn't always mean the woman is the victim of abuse or forced into a marriage. If it was "something else" I don't think there would have been a made up note because that only brings more scrutiny.
kittymink 25th-Mar-2012 04:12 am (UTC)
WAT.
astridmyrna 25th-Mar-2012 04:20 am (UTC)
Oh my god. Just oh my fucking god.
tenaciousrei 25th-Mar-2012 05:12 am (UTC)
I'm just so upset right now. I have been praying for her and her family all night.

I'm a Black Muslim woman with three sons. After Trayvon, Rekia and now this? I'm really thinking about getting out of the USA in the next few years.
vanillakokakola 25th-Mar-2012 05:21 am (UTC)
shit, i'm white and i want to get out of the USA. i can't imagine how difficult it would be to have the issues i'm frustrated with compounded by the fact that our country gives zero fucks about racism (and that we have legitimate candidates for the presidency who are OPENLY RACIST)

it sucks, and i'm sorry :(
girly123 25th-Mar-2012 05:15 am (UTC)
This is all kinds of fucked up. I pray for her family's wellbeing.
stellar_kar 25th-Mar-2012 06:22 am (UTC)
This is awful and why is this not getting much attention?
mskye 25th-Mar-2012 07:26 am (UTC)
Because America has become an extremely anti-Muslim culture and the media encourages this.
mizsphinx 25th-Mar-2012 06:32 am (UTC)
Wow. Just...wow. I thought about my mother while reading this. I thought about if this had been her, how absolutely heartbreaking it would have been for me. This is so sick. I just can't think of any justifiable reason as to why someone thinks it's all fine and dandy to MURDER someone just because they've either got different beliefs or skin colour.

BTW, lj tag ordering is unfortunate in this case. It reads as this: arabs attacks california. Not cool, lj. Not cool.
rhodanum 25th-Mar-2012 07:58 am (UTC)
Noticed that just now. LJ orders the tags alphabetically and the way they ended up now... very unfortunate, yes.
asinbumble 25th-Mar-2012 07:53 am (UTC)
This is horrifying and so, so screwed up. I feel so sick and ashamed to be Californian.

Edited because I realized that the OP's article was only a few hours old.

Edited at 2012-03-25 08:02 am (UTC)
deathchibi 25th-Mar-2012 08:08 am (UTC)
The fact that this goes on in America is so shameful. No, no just the crime. The fact that this gets so little attention. The fact that odds are good that no one will really investigate and even better odds that no one will solve the crime.

The fact that I dare not read comments at the source because there will be racist douchebags cheering it on is just another ingredient in the fail stew.

Of course the family didn't report the initial incident. They probably don't have much faith or rapport with or in the police. The police probably would've shrugged and told them to buy a dog or something.

Edited at 2012-03-25 08:11 am (UTC)
rhodanum 25th-Mar-2012 08:19 am (UTC)
I've been looking at various sources and most of the comments are.... surprisingly good. Quite a number of people outraged, but the night is young and things might yet change.

Twitter is abuzz as well. From what I'm seeing, people are drawing parallels with Trayvon's tragedy re: individuals killed for the color of their skin. And I don't think I would dismiss that train of thought entirely. While islamophobia appears to have been the foremost motivating factor, a good deal of persons who are islamophobes also fall head-first into the racist pit.

It just might start wider dialogue at the national level, you never know. Regardless, I advise linking the article and telling others, if at all possible.
maenads_dance 25th-Mar-2012 09:10 am (UTC)
Just terrible. Terrible. What I've been wondering since I read this earlier today is whether or not hate speech-filled threats were a common enough part of her life or the lives of men and women in her community that she felt safe dismissing the threats leveled against her as just a prank.
maladaptive 25th-Mar-2012 02:41 pm (UTC)
I dunno if it was dismissed as just a prank so much as "there's nothing anyone can do about it."
atomic_joe2 25th-Mar-2012 09:37 am (UTC)
Awful. There have been a few stories of late about people moving from war-torn places to supposedly peaceful countries and encountering violence such as this.
violetrose 25th-Mar-2012 11:38 am (UTC)
Yep, and oftentimes, we're the ones turnings their countries into war zones (or at least, not helping) and then blame them for it.

When it comes to Iraq or Afghanistan, the least we can do is accept refugees.
little_rachael 25th-Mar-2012 10:07 am (UTC)
How horrible...If someone did that to my mother, I don't know if I'd ever be able to smile again. I hope the monster who did this is thrown in prison for the rest of their life.
kseda 25th-Mar-2012 12:04 pm (UTC)
This is the first story mentioned on Up with Chris Hayes on MSNBC this morning, I am so glad it's spreading. Maybe it'll promote investigators to look more closely at this "isolated incident" that might "possibly" be a hate crime.
doverz 25th-Mar-2012 12:29 pm (UTC)
This is so fucking horrible. I hope whoever did this gets found and put in prison for the rest of their life.

"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."

Ummmm, what makes them think it wasn't a hate crime?? The family got the same threatening letter before and a woman was severely beaten to death with the letter near her.

It's a hate crime.
thelilyqueen 25th-Mar-2012 03:06 pm (UTC)
FWIW it sounds like they do think it's most likely a hate crime, they're just not ready to say it *was* one until they've done a full investigation which might turn up some other course of events (eg. she was attacked by a supposed friend -for reasons having nothing to do with race or religion- who knew about the previous threatening letter and used that to direct suspicion away from themselves). That those other possibilities are entertained is aggravating to those on the outside, but the investigators' job is to keep an open mind until all evidence is in. :(
tabaqui 25th-Mar-2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
I'm beginning to almost hate my country. What the FUCK is wrong with people. Well, it's not new - not as if people haven't been killing people over skin color forever but isn't it about fucking time this *stopped*? How damn long are we going to put up with racism and bigotry and *hate*?
age_of_green 25th-Mar-2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
That poor woman and her family.

This definitely falls under "the things that scare me about America's future" category. I feel like our national mainstream Islamophobia is growing so out of control that it reminds me of the Antisemitism of 30's Germany.

Edited at 2012-03-25 04:46 pm (UTC)
zeonchar 25th-Mar-2012 04:54 pm (UTC)
"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."

There's also a lot of racist trash out there.
leprofessional :/25th-Mar-2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
Fucking tragic :(

I don't mean to be an ass... I say this as someone who has followed anti-Muslim hate-crimes... I have to be honest. The 'details' on this case are sooooooooooooooooooooooo sketchy, I wish the police would release more info-- the horror and extent of the crime somehow does not match up with the either notes, and the circumstance under which the crime appears to have occured. I hope these issues are clarified before this picks up steam.

If this blows up big-- it turns out that it was not a hate crime, and worst an in family/in community crime/framing, it's going to really cast a long shadow over every other case of hate crime. :/

Edited at 2012-03-25 05:46 pm (UTC)
yamamanama Re: :/26th-Mar-2012 12:54 am (UTC)
People already assume hate crimes are fake. What will change?
myrrhmade 25th-Mar-2012 06:15 pm (UTC)
Disgusting and despicable. Her poor family.
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