Photo by David McNew/Getty Images
UPDATE: Shamia Alawadi's body will be flown to Iraq for burial. Alawadi, 32, died Saturday from injuries sustained during a beating in her California home.
The BBC reports that the Iraqi government is paying for the repatriation. Alawadi had recently moved to El Cajon, California from a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, two areas with relatively large populations of Iraqi immigrants.
A note found at the scene reportedly calling Alawadi a "terrorist" has opened the possibility that the beating was motivated by anti-Muslim prejudice, but police aren't ruling out other motives: Lt. Mark Coit told the L.A. Times that they're "investigating all aspects of this crime," adding that "as of now, we have not ruled out any of the motives for why people kill people."
Sunday, March 25: Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old Iraqi immigrant, died Saturday from injuries sustained during a beating in her home in El Cajon, San Diego County. Alawadi had been on life support ever since her 17-year-old daughter had discovered her unconscious body Wednesday, reports CNN.
A note was found next to her body that read, “go back to your country. You’re a terrorist,” reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Alawadi’s daughter told KUSI-TV her mother was beaten repeatedly with a tire iron. She also said the family had found a similar note outside their home earlier this month but dismissed it as a prank (video below).
A family friend told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the mother of five was a “respectful modest muhajiba,” meaning she wore the hijab. The family had recently moved to California from Michigan.
Police said they believe the attack was an isolated incident, reports the Associated Press. “A hate crime is one of the possibilities, and we will be looking at that,” Lt. Mark Coit of the El Cajon police said. “We don't want to focus on only one issue and miss something else.”
The case is getting lots of attention in social networks, where Alawadi was quickly compared to Trayvon Martin, who was shot in Florida while wearing a hoodie. A Facebook page called One Million Hijabs for Shaima Alawadi has already been set up.