A 17-year-old Muslim teenager Nabra Hassanen was assaulted and killed in the early hours of Sunday as she walked home after prayers at a mosque near Washington. Police said they currently had no information to indicate that this was a hate crime But the father of Nabra Hassanen rejected detectives’ theory and said he believed his 17-year-old daughter was targeted because she was Muslim.
Police in Fairfax, Virginia, found the body of a 17-year-old Muslim girl who was reported missing early Sunday after leaving a mosque with a group of friends. Shortly after finding her remains Sunday afternoon, officers arrested 22-year-old Darwin Martinez-Torres and charged him with murder in connection to the case. Police said Monday evening that “the autopsy results show Nabra suffered from blunt force trauma to the upper body after a road rage incident.”
Hassanen and her friends were coming back from eating during a break from Ramadan prayers when a car pulled up and a man with a baseball bat jumped out and started swinging at the group of girls. The teens were walking on Dranesville Road toward the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia, at around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday after grabbing breakfast at a nearby McDonald’s before beginning their fast at sunrise for Ramadan, police and mosque officials said.
After the group finished, they started walking back and that’s when a motorist confronted them and they got into an altercation, Deputy Aleksandra Kowalski, a spokesperson for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s office, told BuzzFeed News. Police believed that Torres got out of his car and assaulted Hassanen. “Her friends could not find her and police were called to help,” Fairfax County police said.
Lt Bryan Holland said: “There was no indication of any racial slurs or any back and forth other than a verbal argument.”
However, Nabra’s father, Mohmoud Hassanen, rejected that version of events. “I don’t believe this story,” he told the Guardian by phone on Monday afternoon. “I tell the detective the same thing.” the father added “He killed my daughter because she is Muslim. That’s what I believe. That’s what I told him.”
Nabra’s mother, Sawsan Gazzar, told the Washington Post, “I think it had to do with the way she was dressed and the fact that she’s Muslim.”
“Why would you kill a kid? What did my daughter do to deserve this?” she asked.
A report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found that anti-Muslim hate crime incidents rose sharply in 2015 and increased a further 44%, from 180 to 260, in 2016. Human rights groups have called on Donald Trump to be more forceful in speaking out against acts of violent intolerance.