While the Nation Focuses on Trayvon, The Murder of an Iraqi Woman Grips Southern California

Mar 30, 2012
10:14 pm

For the last two weeks, online media has been focused on the death of Trayvon Martin, as more and more people keep asking for the state of Florida to do the correct thing: charge George Zimmerman with a crime. It appears to us that that is a distinct possibility, but it might not happen until after the April 10 grand jury date being scheduled for this incident, but who knows? It could happen next week, too.

In the meantime, another horrific tragedy has occurred in Southern California, and now social media might begin to pay more attention.

This week, TIME's Nina Burleigh asked a simple question in her piece: Where Are The Protests Against the Killing of Shaima Al Awadi? The killing of this Iraqi woman is a chilling tale of American jingoism and racism gone bad. Burleigh writes:

Forty thousand Iraqis live in El Cajon, California, where this week, Shaima Al Awadi, a devout Muslim mother of five, died after being beaten inside her home with a tire iron and left next to note reading “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” Coming on the heels of the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida, there would seem to be many parallels between the two crimes—the hate speech, the prejudice, the innocence of the victims. A One Million Hijabs for Shaima Al Awadi page has even been launched on Facebook, but it’s doubtful that the movement will really catch on because Iraqis still considered dangerous infiltrators in the eyes of Americans…..

The police in El Cajon are still looking for Al Awadi’s killer, whose family reported that they had found a similarly menacing note tacked to their door a week before the attack, which they had dismissed as a joke. The hijab is not the hoodie—yet. Police do not profile muslim women as they most certainly do black men. But only when we see people for their humanity and not their clothes or religious beliefs are we living up to the principles on which this country was founded and should now be evoking.


As with any incident that might be viewed as being unjust, social media does not instantly make something viral. It takes some time for the awareness to build and tonight, just two days after the TIME was published, we are seeing signs that this story might gain more interest. For example, the Facebook page has 9,151 likes, but MORE IMPORTANTLY, 8,046 people are talking about it tonight. That is an outstanding Facebook ratio. And tonight at the University of North Carolina, this powerful picture was taken and is starting to be shared on social media: ere is just one example, taken at the University of North Carolina: