A note was left

To expand on one part of the Adele Wilde-Blavatsky and the Collective Response issue…

Wilde-Blavatsky said at the beginning of her article

Last month, an American-born Iraqi woman, Shaima Alawadi, was viciously murdered in the United States. According to reports, her daughter stated that a racist note was left outside the family home before the attack. Alawadi’s death came shortly after another allegedly racially-motivated murder, that of African-American man Trayvon Martin.

The Collective Response treated that account of the murder of Alawi as true. But is it? I wanted to explore that question yesterday but I didn’t have time, and overnight BenSix provided a helpful link in a comment.

The story sounded wrong to me from the outset – if it were a racist attack, why would it single out one particular woman inside a house? That’s not how racist attacks usually go – unless the one particular person is an activist or organizer or the like. Racist attacks on random people to “send a message” target people on the street or everyone in a house that is torched or fire-bombed. Going into a house to kill one person sounds like a very odd kind of racist attack.

And it turns out there are reasons to think that’s not what it was.

But records obtained by NBCSanDiego revealed that Alawadi was having problems with her husband and daughter. Investigators said Alawadi was planning to divorce her husband and move to Texas.

The warrants also show that the victim’s daughter Fatima was  upset about the family’s plan to have her marry one of her cousins. Police found a text message on the teenage daughter’s cell phone, at the time she was being  interviewed by detectives. The text read: “The detective will find  out. Tell him ‘[can’t] talk’.”

Records also show a possible suspect was near the house on  the day of the crime. A neighbor gave police a description of a possible suspect  spotted running from the crime scene.

The suspect is described as a “darker skinned boy in his late  teens or early 20s … with a skinny build, carrying a donut shaped cardboard  box.” He was seen at 10:30 a.m., about 45 minutes before Alawadi’s daughter called 911.

Records reveal that on Nov. 3 last year, Fatima and  21-year-old Rawnaq Yacub were contacted by police for possibly having sex in a parked car. Officers contacted Alawadii, who went to the incident location.  Alwadi was driving her daughter away from the area when Fatima said “I love you  mom,” then jumped out of the car while it was moving at 35 mph.

Fatima was transported to the hospital with multiple  injuries, including a possible broken arm, according to police. The 17-year-old  told paramedics and hospital staff that she was being forced to marry her cousin and did not want to do so, which is why she jumped out of the car. Fatima  refused to talk to police at the hospital, according to the documents.

Since the March 21 incident, police have asked a judge for  permission to search the car of Alawadi’s husband, Kassim Alhimidi.

So, possibly nothing like the Trayvon Martin case at all. Possibly not in any sense a racist attack.


  1. Boomer says

    What,s strange about this is case is the fact both husband and daughter were allowed to leave The States for Iraq, I believe.

  2. says

    Yes, the article says they’re still in Iraq. You’re right, that is odd.

    It’s a mug’s game trying to figure out a crime via news reports, of course – but it seems fair to say it’s not established that it was a racist attack by strangers.

  3. Simon says

    For those who have an interest in hate crime stats, the FBI tablulates them on an annual basis. Here are the 2010 stats for crimes motivated by religion:

    Religious bias
    Of the 1,552 victims of an anti-religion hate crime:

    67.0 percent were victims of an offender’s anti-Jewish bias.
    12.7 percent were victims of an anti-Islamic bias.
    4.2 percent were victims of an anti-Catholic bias.
    3.0 percent were victims of an anti-Protestant bias.
    0.5 percent were victims of an anti-Atheist/Agnostic bias.
    9.1 percent were victims of a bias against other religions (anti-other religion).
    3.5 percent were victims of a bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).

    Source: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/hate-crime/2010/narratives/hate-crime-2010-victims

  4. Beauzeaux says

    I said the same thing at the time. In addition to the fact that the attack occured inside her house, it was also apparently a frenzied attack. Multiple blows beyond what would be needed to kill someone.

    As it’s been observed, you really need to know someone well in order to want to kill them that badly.

    To me, this pointed to a family member with the note being a feeble attempt at diverting attention. And sure enough, an actual investigation dug up facts that didn’t fit the “hate crime” scenario. (And it looks like the actual killer will get away with it.)

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