DEARBORN – Despite heavy rains resulting from a thunderstorm just prior to the event, a rally was held on behalf of Shaima Alawadi, an Iraqi American Muslim woman who was killed in her El Cajon, California home, attended by about 30 people in front of City Hall.
The killing of Alawadi, who was found brutally beaten in her home last week with a note left by her saying, “This is my country, go back to yours, terrorist,” according to her daughter, has caused many, especially Arab Americans, to question the relative lack of coverage and protests in response.
TIME Magazine even published an article titled, 'Where Are The Protests Against the Killing of Shaima Al Awadi?”
“Honestly, this was a tragic incident that took place not just for the Iraqi or even Muslim communities, for every community it is a shame,” said young demonstrator Ali Al Najjar.
“The same killer of Trayvon (Martin, who was shot and killed while wearing a hoodie by a neighborhood watch member in a Florida incident that many have called racial profiling-related) is the killer of Shaima.”
Imam Husham Al-Husainy of the Karbala Center in Dearborn, which held a vigil for her a few days earlier, noted that President Barack Obama has mentioned the Martin case but hasn't brought the same attention to the Alawadi case. He and the other demonstrators want to make sure the case is thoroughly investigated and stays in the hearts and minds of the public so that justice can be served.
He led the crowd in chants of, “America believes in human rights!” and “Shaima and Trayvon are the same, the only difference is the name!”
While some nationwide 'Hoodies and Hijabs' rallies have been held, the Martin case has received much more attention and many believe that more awareness is needed for Alawadi's case.
The group tentatively plans to be back, perhaps along with other civil rights leaders and community members, with another demonstration on Friday at 3 p.m., organizer Rashid Baydoun of the Arab American Civil Rights League said at the rally.
“We will go every week until they capture the killer,” Al-Husainy said.