March 25, 2012
A woman from Iraq who was found beaten, lying in a pool of blood in her in El Cajon, Calif., home next to a note saying “go back to your country,” has died and police are investigating her death as a possible a hate crime.
Shaima Alawadi’s 17-year-old daughter found her unconscious on the dining room floor of her home Wednesday. She was taken to the hospital and put on life support, but she was taken off life around 3 p.m. Saturday.
“Our understanding is that she was beaten and she was hit with some kind of a tool about 8 times in the head. She was knocked on the floor and was found in a pool of blood,” said Hanif Mohebi, the director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Alawadi was a 32-year-old mother of five children, ranging in age from eight to 17.
“A week ago they left a letter saying this is our country not yours you terrorist, and so my mom ignored that thinking it was just kids playing a prank,” Alawadi’s daughter, Fatima Al Himidi, told ABC News affiliate KGTV. “But the day they hit her, they left another note again, and it said the same thing.”
Al Himidi told KGTV the intruders did not steal anything from their home, and the only motive must have been hate.
“A hate crime is one of the possibilities, and we will be looking at that,” Lt. Mark Coit said, according to The Associated Press. “We don’t want to focus on only one issue and miss something else.”
Al Awadi immigrated to the United States from Iraq in the mid-1990s.
There is a large Iraqi population in El Cajon, Mohebi said, and its members often face “discriminatory hate incidents.”
“Our ultimate goal is that whoever did this is brought to justice,” Mohebi said.