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Xenophobia Kills Iraqi Mother in US

Published: 25/03/2012 12:19:35 PM GMT
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CAIRO - An Iraqi mother of five has been beaten to death in her Southern California home in an apparent xenophobic attack after a threatening note describing her family as terrorists , the Daily Mail reported on Sunday, Marc (more)

CAIRO - An Iraqi mother of five has been beaten to death in her Southern California home in an apparent xenophobic attack after a threatening note describing her family as "terrorists", the Daily Mail reported on Sunday, March 25.

“The family is in shock at the moment,” Hanif Mohebi, director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said.

“They're still trying to deal with what happened.”

The 32-year-old mother of five was found unconscious in the living room of their home in El Cajon in San Diego County.

Put on life support since Wednesday, the mother was taken off it around 3pm on Saturday.

Alawadi and her husband have three daughters and two sons, ranging in age from 8 to 17, Mohebi said.

Coming to the United States from Iraq in the mid-1990s, the family had lived in the house in El Cajon, which has one of the nation's largest Iraqi communities, for only a few weeks, after moving from Michigan.

An apparently xenophobic note was found beside the body of the Iraqi mother.Police confirmed the note though they did not reveal what it said.

"During the initial stages of this investigation, a threatening note was discovered very close to where the victim was found," Lt. Mark Coit of the El Cajon police told CNN.

Yet, Alawadi's daughter, Fatima Alhamidi, said the note carried threat to the family to go back to Iraq and called them "terrorists."

Police said a similar note was left outside the family home earlier in the month, but the family did not report it.

"A week ago they left a letter saying, 'This is our country, not yours, you terrorists,'" the daughter, told CNN affiliate KGTV.

"So my mom ignored that, thinking (it was) kids playing around, pranking. And so the day they hurt her, they left it again and it said the same thing."

El Cajon, northeast of downtown San Diego, is home to some 40,000 Iraqi immigrants, the second largest in the US after Detroit.

Hate Crime

Police said that hate crime was an option.

“A hate crime is one of the possibilities, and we will be looking at that,” Lt. Mark Coit said.

“We don't want to focus on only one issue and miss something else.”

They added they believe the attack was an isolated incident.

"Evidence thus far leads us to believe this is an isolated incident," Coit said in a statement.

Her daughter, however, said nothing was stolen from the house, leading her to believe the attack on her mother was motivated by hatred.

"Why did you take my mother away from me? You took my best friend away from me," she said, choking with tears, in an interview with CNN affiliate KUSI.

"Why? Why did you do it? I want to know. Answer me that."

The United States is home to an estimated Muslim minority of between seven to eight million.

Since 9/11, US Muslims have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was stigmatizing their faith.

Anti-Muslim frenzy has grown sharply in the US in recent months over plans to build a mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York, resulting in attacks on Muslims and their property.

The Republican Party has also been dismissive to Muslim voters over the anti-Islam campaigns played by its candidates to win votes before the looming 2012 presidential elections.

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