Shaima Alawadi, a 32 year old mother of five, died on Saturday from a vicious beating she received earlier in the week in her in El Cajon, California home. Beaten on the head with a tire iron, she was found in a pool of her own blood.
“I found her on the floor…in her own blood with a letter next to her head saying go back to your country you terrorist,” said Fatima Al Himidi, her 17-year old daughter.
Alawadi was an Iraqi immigrant but had lived in the US for nearly twenty years, and had only recently moved to the San Diego area from Michigan.
“I’m really disturbed,” said Suehaila Amen, president of the Lebanese-American Heritage Club in Dearborn. “It’s quite frightening.” The body of Alawadi, a U.S. citizen, is currently being prepared to be flown to Iraq for her funeral, said Imam Husham Al-Husainy, of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center in Dearborn. Her father, Sayed Nabeel Alawadi, is a Shia cleric in Iraq, whose government will pay for shipping expenses of the body, he said.
“Everybody is outraged,” Al-Husainy told the Detroit Free Press. “This is too evil, too criminal.”
Police told the San Diego Union-Tribune they are investigating her death in El Cajon, near San Diego, as a homicide.
“A hate crime is one of the possibilities, and we will be looking at that,” Lt. Mark Coit of El Cajon police told the Union-Tribune. “We don’t want to focus on only one issue and miss something else.”
About a week ago, the woman’s family had received a separate, threatening note that read:
“You’re a terrorist. You should move back to your country,” Hayder Al-Zayadi, a friend of the family, told the Detroit Free Press.
“Some people are not educated,” Al-Zayadi said.