RIP: Nabra Hassanen, an American Muslim girl murdered on Father's Day motivated by evil, not hate
Young Nabra Hassanen leaves a legacy of kindness to all.
By Mona Austin
Mohmoud Hassanen's first born was killed on Father's Day. All he and her mother, Sawsan Gazzar would like to know is why someone would kill her. Gazzar has a theory. She believes her daughter was killed because she was wearing a Hijab. Mr. Hassanen said when he goes to court he wants the murderer to look him in the eyes and give him an answer.
"Nobody feel [sic] like what I feel when I lose my daughter. I don't want this happen to another people.," said Mr. Hassanen. Afraid it is no longer safe to live in America, Gazzar is concerned her remaining 3 daughters could return home as bodies too.
Nabra Hassanen 16, was attacked with a metal baseball bat after spending time at All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) mosque for Ramadan prayer, later joining a group of friends at an IHOP in Northern Virginia on Sunday morning. After the El Salvadoran attacker, Darwin Martinez Torres of Sterling, 22 brutalized her he threw her body in a pond. Police suspect she may have also been raped. The autopsy report says she died of blunt force trauma to the upper body.
Those who knew her said Nabra was a daddy's girl. Her father, a limo driver, now grapples with how to answer his 3-year-old when she asked if Nabra is coming back home, trying to make sense of it all. They say Nabra was nice to everyone at school.
The answers Nabra's parents are seeking may lie in the sequence of events that occurred prior to the assault.
Authorities say Torres got into an argument with one of the boys in the group, while another allegedly threw a drink at his car. Fairfax County police spokeswoman Julie Parker said Monday they were arguing about traffic. In a statement the Fairfax County Police Department cited road rage led to murder.
Torres allegedly parked his car onto a curve, got out and ran toward the group with a bat in his hand at a McDonald's parking lot, witnesses say. Some of the kids fled on foot, some were riding bikes dispersing in various directions. Nabra tripped and fell. The motorist hit her in the head with the bat and she lost consciousness. He drug her body to his car. It seems no one in the group of approximately 15 peers had the presence of mind to stop and help Nabra when she fell. She was left behind. Authorities believe Nabra regained consciousness at some point and suspect she was then raped.
Torres entered the U.S. illegally according to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He was arrested and taken to Fairfax, County jail on murder charges on Monday afternoon. Pres. Donald Trump famously called undocumented Hispanic immigrants "a bunch of rapists and murderers" during campaign season. This incident won't help the case of immigration advocates.
An aunt described Torres as a "nice" man. The family is in shock she said.
As anti-Muslim sentiment grows in the nation the situation was initially deemed a hate crime. It's what Nabra's parents thought, the community at large thought.
Not this time. Not solely.
Police now say they are no longer investigating the case as a hate crime in the following statement:
There is nothing to indicate at this point this tragic case was a hate crime. No evidence has been uncovered that shows this murder was motivated by race or religion. It appears the suspect became so enraged over the traffic dispute it escalated into deadly violence. If during the course of this ongoing criminal investigation, information or evidence later surfaces that would indicate this was hate-motivated, detectives would certainly ensure appropriate charges are filed.
The murder of Nabra Hassanen shows that not all attacks on Muslims or other racial minorities are racially motivated. Hate was not the catalyst in this instance. Evil was. A young man, who happened to be an illegal immigrant, fell into an excessive fit of rage that escalated into an irreversible loss of human life.
Before this loss is politicized over racial or religious reasons, it is important to reflect on the humanity of the Hassanen family. A father mourned his slain first born on Fathers Day, a time traditionally set aside to honor men for becoming parents. No matter who you are or where you are from it is not difficult to understand the third Sunday in June will never be the same for Mr. Hassanen with the emphasis on fatherhood adding to the hurt.
If there is one iota of positivity that can come from this sad story it is this: Nabra Hassanen symbolizes an American Muslim norm that the media can introduce to the public to quell fears and defy stereotypes. By all accounts from what we have gathered thus far, Nabra was a typical teen hanging out with friends in a typical American fashion when something went terribly wrong.
She defies the rhetoric that that may be young, radical Islam Muslims lurking in the trenches in U.S. cities ready to strike as suicide bombers.
The Slice report offers prayers and condolences to the Hassanen family and the entire Muslim community that has been shaken by this tragedy.
Thousands attended Nabra's funeral today.
Her memorial was set on fire.