Shaima Alawadi: Iraqi Woman Who Was Victim Of Hate Crime Dies

on March 25 2012 6:53 AM

Shaima Alawadi, an Iraqi woman, died Saturday of injuries from a severe beating in her El Cajon home in San Diego, California, where a hateful note warning the family to go back to your country was left next to her.

Hanif Mohebi, the director of the San Diego chapter of the council on American-Islamic Relations, told UT San Diego News, I have had communications from the San Francisco Bay Area asking, 'how can I help this family,' and even around the country people are praying for the family. The family is in shock at the moment. They're still trying to deal with what happened.

Given the fact of these notes left, we're obviously concerned about the possibility of a hate crime. I don't think anyone would disagree this is a coldblooded murder.

Alawadi, a mother of five, was found unconscious in a pool of blood Wednesday by her 17-year-old daughter, Fatima Al Himidi, in the dining room of the family's Skyview Street home at around 11:15 am. She was then hospitalized. On Saturday, she was taken off life support and she died after a short time.

Fatima Al Himidi, told KUSI-TV, her mother had been beaten on the head repeatedly with a tire iron, and a note was kept next to her saying, Go back to your country, you terrorist.

According to Mohebi, Fatima was sleeping upstairs in her home when the incident happened and when she came down, it was too late and the (attacker) was gone. The sliding glass door was broken.

Earlier this month, the family found a similar note outside the home, but they dismissed it as a prank, Fatima told KUSI-TV.

Investigators said that there was a possibility of a hate crime.

Although we are exploring all aspects of this investigation, evidence thus far leads us to believe this is an isolated incident. A hate crime is one of the possibilities, and we will be looking at that, Associated Press reported quoting Lt. Mark Coit. We don't want to focus on only one issue and miss something else.

Al Himidi and family, who are emigrated from Iraq to the United States, had lived in San Diego for only a few weeks. The family, before shifting to San Diege, lived in Michigan. They had been in the United States since 1995. Alawadi had five children two sons and three daughters range in age from 8 to 17.  

Mohebi, who was with the family at the hospital, said that it was fateful that the family didn't report the first hateful note.

I am trying to figure it out. If this was a hate crime, this tells us we have a lot more work to do in our community.

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.

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