CAIRO – A Saudi young woman has been brutally murdered in a frenzied knife attack as detectives said they believe she was targeted for wearing an Islamic attire and headscarf known as hijab in Essex.
"We are conscious that the dress of the victim will have identified her as likely being a Muslim and this is one of the main lines of the investigation," Detective Superintendent Tracy Hawkings was quoted by The Independent.
“But again there is no firm evidence at this time that she was targeted because of her religion,” she added.
The woman, a Saudi student in her early 30s, was wearing a hijab and a full-length navy blue robe, called an abaya, when she was knifed to death on a footpath in Colchester on Tuesday morning.
She suffered severe facial injuries and stab wounds to her body and died at the scene from injuries to her head and body, said police.
The victim, who was on her way to university, arrived in Britain several months ago with her younger brother to study at Essex University, according to a fellow student.
The Saudi embassy said its ambassador to the UK was taking an active role in the case.
"Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf expressed in a telephone call on Tuesday to the brother of the deceased his sincerest condolences to her family, affirming the embassy's speed in taking all the procedures for the transfer of the body of the deceased to the kingdom,” the embassy said.
“He also asserted that the case is in his personal attention," it added.
The ambassador asked officials “to stand by the family of the deceased, and provide them with all necessary things in these circumstances”.
Uniformed officers stepped up their patrols around the site of the stabbing, which took place between 8.30am and 11am near St Andrew's infant and nursery school.
A 52-year-old man is being questioned by police in connection with the killing.
In a university with students from different cultural backgrounds, the murder offered a shock for hitting a new level of racism.
“It’s a very big incident especially since it took place during the day and not at night,” Abdul Razak, a linguistics student, told The Independent.
“I know it’s a dangerous area.”
According to the students, the university has a multinational population with more than 200 Saudi nationals.
They added that they have faced previous problems with racism off campus but concerns were raised about crime around the estate where the woman was killed. Where a number of students flats exist.
The university said yesterday it was running a shuttle bus to areas off campus during the evening for concerned students.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the young woman who died and we are deeply saddened by this tragic incident,” the University said in a statement.
Britain is home to a Muslim community of nearly 2.7 million.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
Police data shows that 1,200 anti-Muslim attacks were reported in Britain in 2010.
A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.
A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.
Last October, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has vowed to put an end to religious hate crimes against Muslims.
He also announced an extra £214,000 funding for Tell Mama to help halt attacks against Muslims.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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