A Muslim teenager was assaulted and killed in the early hours of Sunday as she walked home after prayers at a mosque near Washington.
The death of Nabra Hassanen, 17, of Reston, northern Virginia, stunned the local community. Police have charged 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres with her murder.
A potential hate crime is one of the possible motives under investigation, the Washington Post reported. Nabra’s mother, Sawsan Gazzar, told the paper: “I think it had to do with the way she was dressed and the fact that she’s Muslim. Why would you kill a kid? What did my daughter do to deserve this?”
A local congresswoman, Barbara Comstock, said: “We are heartbroken and horrified by the news of the brutal murder of a beautiful 17-year old girl. We know there is no greater pain for any parent and Chip and I extend our prayers to her family and loved ones at this difficult time and the entire Adams Center community.”
A statement from the Adams mosque said: “We are devastated and heartbroken as our community undergoes and processes this traumatic event. It is a time for us to come together to pray and care for our youth. Adams has licensed counselors on site to assist anyone in need of counseling during these difficult times.”
On a crowdfunding page to support Nabra’s family, donations surged to more than $55,000 by midnight.
A report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found that anti-Muslim hate crime incidents rose sharply in 2015 and increased a further 44%, from 180 to 260, in 2016. Human rights groups have called on Donald Trump to be more forceful in speaking out against acts of violent intolerance.