Funeral for Muslim teen killed in attack near Virginia mosque draws throngs

Henrietta Brewer
June 23, 2017

Almost 1,000 people gathered at a local park in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to pay tribute to the teen with flowers, signs, and one central message: "Say her name".

DC Police said 24-year-old Jonathan Soloman of SC was arrested in connection with the fire.

The Independent reported that, at the time Nabra Hassanen was kidnapped and killed by a passing motorist in her home of Fairfax County, Virginia, the local Muslim community was celebrating the holy month of Ramadan. The suspect in the murder, Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, allegedly got into an argument with a teen in Hassanen's group who was riding a bicycle, and became enraged.

Imam Mohamed Magid, the religious leader of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, acknowledged the slaying had people fearful but he praised the many people who turned out "in a fever" to search for the teenager before police discovered her body on Sunday afternoon.

Torres then drove his vehicle onto the curb, scattering the teens, after which he chased some of the group, including Hassanen, with a metal baseball bat into a nearby parking lot.

He drove off with Nabra in his vehicle and assaulted her again before dumping her body in a pond near her home, police say.

Hassanen's lifeless body was later found in a pond.

While authorities maintain that none of the evidence found in Hassanen's murder indicates that this was motivated by race or religion, it will be very hard to argue the same for this act of arson.

Joining the mourners was Lamia Sarver of McLean, who said she does not usually attend ADAMS, but wanted to support the Hassanen family.

Police have consistently said the incident was a case of road rage, but many activists have say they believe Hassanen was targeted because of her Muslim faith. Torres has been charged with murder in connection to the case. According to some reports, the teenager might have been raped before she was murdered.

"His anger over that earlier encounter then led to violence when he hit Nabra with a baseball bat", she said.

The FBI defines a hate crime as a 'criminal offense against a person or property motivated by an offender's bias against a certain race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity.' .

A vigil for Hassanen is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston, with #JusticeForNabra events also being held nationwide.

"That is the highest number since 2001, when the al Qaeda attacks on NY and elsewhere drove the number to its highest ever level, 481 hate crimes", according to Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Police have said her beating death appears to be a case of road rage, but many outside observers are skeptical, especially Muslims who say the case looks much like a hate crime.

Nabra Hassanen is remembered by those who knew her as a compassionate and insightful 17-year-old.

Anti-Muslim rhetoric from President Donald Trump has "emboldened" people to attack Muslims, said the group, which is working to end bigotry against Muslims, back Americans and other minorities.

Other reports by iNewsToday