International News

17-Year-Old Muslim Woman’s Assault and Murder Sparks Hate Crime Debate

Rabat - A joyful, early hour Ramadan visit to IHOP with friends turned tragic for 17-year-old, Nabra Hassenan, on Sunday when she was abducted, assaulted and killed outside her mosque.

Not normally an observant Muslim, Nabra Hassenan did attend mosque during Ramadan. What was somewhat surprising on Sunday was her desire to don the abaya, a traditional, long garment favoured by many Muslim women. Her mother happy loaned her one of her own to wear.

Sadly, it was her choice of attire that would prove fatal for Hassanen in two ways. Firstly, it is widely believed by members of her Muslim community that she and her group of friends were targeted by the suspect because of their attire. Secondly, it was reported to Hassanen’s mother by a detective that her daughter had tripped over the unfamiliar garment in her attempt to flee with her friends. It was then that the suspect allegedly struck her with a metal baseball bat and abducted her, subsequently assaulting and murdering her.

Darwin Martinez Torres Charged With Killing Nabra Hassanen

The suspect has been identified as 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres. He was arrested Sunday afternoon, after “driving suspiciously” in the area where the young woman’s body was found. He has been charged with murder.

One of the US’s best-known and largest Muslim congregations, the ADAMS mosque in Virginia has 11 chapters in the state. The crime has had a huge impact on a widespread community, prompting Republican Representative, Barbara Comstock, to visit the mosque Sunday and issue the following statement:

“We know there is no greater pain for any parent and Chip and I extend our prayers to her family and loved ones at this difficult time and the entire ADAMS Center community,” she said. “We commend the Fairfax County Police Department and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s office for their diligent work in apprehending the perpetrator. This case should be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, also expressed feeling “deeply disturbed” by Hassenan’s death, saying “There is absolutely no place for this kind of violence in our Commonwealth,” Northam said in a statement. “Every Virginian should feel safe and welcome in our communities, and no parent should ever have to experience such a heartbreaking tragedy. As the police investigation continues, I urge all Virginians to keep Nabra’s friends and family in their hearts.”

Loudoun County Sheriff Michael L. Chapman said, “I can’t think of a worse instance to occur than the loss of a 17-year-old on Father’s Day, as the father of a 17-year-old myself.”

While these sentiments have been appreciated, the tragic nature of the popular teenager’s death has left the Muslim community wondering why it is not being treated as a hate crime when all indications point to Hassanen and her friends being targeted by Torres because of their traditional Muslim attire.

In an official statement, ADAMS officials said, “We call on law enforcement to investigate and determine the motive of this crime and prosecute to the full extent of the law,” the center said in a statement. “We are devastated and heartbroken as our community undergoes and processes this traumatic event. It is a time for us to come together to pray and care for our youth.”

A crowdfunding page begun to help the family reached its $25,000 goal before the end of Sunday.

There is little that will comfort the Hassenan family, however, as they struggle to come to terms with the violent and seemingly senseless loss of their oldest daughter.

“Please pray for me, please pray for me,” Gazzar cried in Arabic. “Pray for me that I can handle this… I lost my daughter, my first reason for happiness.”

 

Comments

Editorial

Opinions

  • The Moroccan Gold Eldorado
    20

    The Moroccan Gold Eldorado, a Myth or a Reality?

    Rabat - Recently, a conspiracy theory video about a large gold discovery in Morocco is making rounds online. The video claims that a substantial gold reserve was discovered and is being extracted by a Canadian mining company called Maya Gold and Silver. We Moroccans are very proud human beings, we love our country and cherish...

  • Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani
    20

    Qatar: How the Tables Are Turning in The Gulf

    Rabat - Amidst harsh sanctions and a long list of demands from its neighbors, Qatar’s ability to thrive under pressure may prove to be problematic for Saudi Arabia. As Saudi Arabia and its coalition attempt to wait out Qatar, the recent spat in the Gulf continues to become more and more global, and severely against...

  • FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2015 file photo, a plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H. If the nation doesn’t do more, the U.S. probably won’t quite meet the dramatic heat-trapping gas reduction goal it promised in last year’s Paris agreement to battle climate change, according to a new study. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)
    20

    Climate Change : If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Fix It

    Chefchaouen - Climate change is happening at home and around the world. Chefchaouen is doing its part by embracing clean energy climate solutions and engaging its citizens in climate action. When it comes to fighting climate change, cities and local leaders are best positioned to lead that charge. Local leaders from coastal to landlocked communities are...

  • 20

    India Orders Internal Probe into Mistaken Use of Morocco-Spain Border Picture

    Hyderabad - The Indian Ministry of Interior on Wednesday ordered an internal investigation to find out how a picture of Morocco-Spain border was used in its annual report to show floodlights along the India-Pakistan border. What is most embarrassing is that the annual report of previous years was tabled during the Budget Session of Indian...

  • Amid Growing Tension, Thousands of Moroccans Stage Pro-Rif March in Rabat
    20

    Neglect in Harsh Soil: The Deep Roots of the Rif Crisis

    Rabat - The ongoing protests in northern Morocco started almost eight months ago, but they have their origin in nearly a century of violent repression by the state. The Rif has, in spite of itself, got involved into a peaceful revolt since the death of the fishmonger Mohcine Fikri at the end of October 2016, a...

  • Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani emir of Qatar
    20

    The Qatar Crisis: What Does It Mean?

    Rabat - The recent diplomatic fallout between Qatar and the rest of the Middle East could have serious economic and geopolitical consequences across the globe. Earlier this week, Qatar’s diplomatic crisis took an extreme turn as several Arab states severed diplomatic ties with the Gulf nation.  The original list of countries in the coalition against...

  • Moroccans spend Laylat al-Qadr, the 26th day of Ramadan, at the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca.
    20

    Ramadan: Not just Abstinence from Daily Intakes 

    By Abdellatif Oudra Rabat - The observance of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam, compels Muslims to fast from sunrise to sunset. But it is not just about abstaining from food or drink.  Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is observed in commemoration of the revelation of Qur’an to the prophet Mohammad,...

  • Morocco Threatens to Terminate Agriculture Agreement with Europe
    20

    Morocco and the EU: Managing the Future

    Rabat - Morocco enjoys proximity to Europe and is at an advantage of being favoured by the European Union as a close partner on political, economic, and cultural levels. Historical archives and political legacies tie Morocco directly with at least three influential European countries: France, Spain, and England. Demography, kinship, and immigration compel other EU...

  • The Educational and Cultural Implications of the Arab Spring
    20

    The Educational and Cultural Implications of the Arab 'Spring'

    Rabat - In the last ten years or so, the Arab world has seen unprecedented collapses in the realms of politics and economy, among others. World NGOs regularly release area-specific rankings, in which Arab nations commonly rank at the bottom of lists in education, human rights, and income for instance while they top those of...

  • Thousands Hold Peaceful Demonstration in Memory of Mouhcine Fikri
    20

    Al Hoceima and the Pedagogical Exercise

    Ottawa - What makes a democracy different from non-democracy? This is the classical and historical question asked by philosophers over the centuries and deeply questioned in the discipline of political science. Democracy cannot prevent inequality as the case in the United States where inequality is the highest globally. Democracy cannot stop corruption like in Brazil...