Muslim woman victim of racist atrocity
Published Oct 26, 2006 10:42 PM
The brutal murder of a Muslim
woman in Fremont, Calif., has sent a wave of fear through the city’s
Afghani community. On Oct. 19, Alia Ansari was walking down a residential street
with her 3-year-old daughter when a man stopped his car, stepped out and shot
her once in the head. He then got back in the car and sped
Ansari’s family and
community believe her killing was a hate crime and that she was targeted because
she was wearing a hijab, the traditional Muslim headscarf. The San Francisco Bay
Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations held a news conference
the next day to condemn Ansari’s killing and demand that the police
investigate it as a hate
“We call on the police to
investigate this issue thoroughly and on a timely basis, and to determine
whether this was a hate crime or not, especially in light of the actual
circumstances of the crime, and in light of the current political
climate,” CAIR-SFBA Civil Rights Coordinator Abdul Rahman Hamamsy said in
Ansari, 37, had emigrated
from Afghanistan in 1986. She lived in Fremont, one of the largest Afghani
communities in the United States, with a business district dubbed “Little
Ansari was walking to a
nearby elementary school to pick up her five other children when she was shot.
The media reported on Oct. 21 that the police had detained a man as a
“person of interest” in the killing but had not charged
CAIR, a Muslim civil liberties
group, issued a report earlier in the year noting that anti-Muslim hate crime
complaints had increased 30 percent in 2005 over the previous year. The group
processed 1,972 civil rights complaints of harassment, violence and
discrimination, and 153 reports of anti-Muslim hate crimes, an 8.6 percent
increase from 2004.
For the Muslim
community, Ansari’s murder is a result of anti-Muslim bigotry.
“Justice will not be served by merely catching the killer,” Ali
Ansari’s brother Hassan Ansari told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We
have to figure out how to stop these kinds of things from happening. ...
American society is what feeds people’s ignorance.”
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