Iraqi Woman beaten in Southern California home dies…Could this be a hate crime?

An Iraqi woman who was beaten in her Southern California home with a xenophobic note beside her died on Saturday after her family took her off life support, according to CNN.

Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old mother of five, had been on life support since Wednesday after her daughter found her unconscious in their home in El Cajon in San Diego County.

Laying besides Alawadi was a threatening note, said Lt. Mark Coit of the El Cajon police.

The contents of the note have not been released; however, Alawadi’s daughter said the note told her family to go back to Iraq and called them “terrorists.”

This was not the first note the family received. Last week, the family received another “threatening” note saying, “This is our country, not yours, you terrorists,” according to Alawadi’s daughter, Fatima Al Himidi. However, the family did not report it.

Nothing was taken from the house, which lead Himidi to believe this attack was motivated by hate.

And social media users agree. They quickly drew parallels between the attack on Alawadi and the murder of Trayvon Martin, 17, calling both a hate crime and comparing a hoodie to a hijab.

According to the article, “on Sunday morning, the authors of the parenting blog, Momstrology, tweeted: ‘A teen murdered for wearing hooded sweater. An Iraqi woman beaten to death for wearing a head scarf. Our hearts ache for you.'”


I think it is very clear that this attack on Alawadi was motivated by hate. The fact that the family received two threatening notes calling them terrorists and asking them to leave the country is not a coincidence. This family was targeted because of who they are, and this poor woman lost her life because of it. I truly hope the police are willing to do the right thing and prosecute those who committed these heinous crimes.

Please bring justice for Trayvon Martin and Shaima Alawadi. These people need to learn, we will not tolerate hate.


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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One Response to Iraqi Woman beaten in Southern California home dies…Could this be a hate crime?

  1. Pingback: American Hate Mongers | The Nahmias Cipher Report

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