By Vladimir Gladkov
California police started to investigate the murder of an Iraqi-born woman, a mother of five, beaten to death in her own home. The authorities believe that Shaima Alawadi, 32, may have been a victim of a hate crime, since the killer reportedly left a racist note near her body. The murder came at the moment of the tensed race relations, following the death of a black teenager, shot to death by a self-proclaimed neighborhood watch captain. The tragedy also reminded about the questionable “antiterrorist” tactics of the American authorities, which actually only lead to the deepening of social and racial conflicts.
According to the police statement Shaima Alawadi – an immigrant from – Iraq was attacked last Wednesday in her own home. The woman had been severely beaten on the head with a tyre lever and left to die in a pool of her own blood. That’s how she was found by her daughter, who had been sleeping upstairs when the attack happened. But what made the authorities to consider the tragedy as a hate crime, was a note, left by the murderer, which said “go back to your country, your terrorist”. Investigating officers also stated that a similar note was earlier found by the family members outside their home. However the family considered the note a bad prank and decided not to report it to the police. Police still refrains from sharing any more details with the public. However a family friend told the press that the attack probably happened after Kassim Al Hamidi, Alawadi’s husband, had taken the couple’s younger children to school.
The attack shocked the local Muslim community. It’s important to mention, that the tragedy followed the recent murder of Trayvon Martin – a black teenager, shot by George Zimmerman – a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer. The fact that the murderer still hasn’t been arrested led to nationwide protests once again drawing public attention to the problem of racism and corruption. As numerous media publication demonstrated, Florida police, responsible for the investigation, lied to the press and public, stating that Zimmerman hadn’t been charged because of his squeaky clean reputation. The local news agency WFTV proved that Zimmerman was arrested in 2005 for attacking a police officer. Another fact revealed by the WFTV seems to be even more embarrassing for the local authorities. As the reporters found out, the police officer responsible for the investigation had already been linked to a racist scandal.
In the wake of the Florida scandal the murder of Shaima Alawadi presents a serious risk of raising racial tensions. At the same time, the tragedy once again reminds of the extremely questionable tactics of the American government which followed the 9/11 terrorist attack. While the 9/11 strike unsurprisingly led to the rise of Anti-Islamic sentiments, inadequate government propaganda poured even more oil into the fire. And despite the fact that the Bush-era with its paranoia seems to be gone, Obama’s presidency has brought no significant changes. According to a series of reports by the Associated Press the White House was aiding the controversial CIA program of illegal covert surveillance of New York Muslims. Unfortunately this is not the only example of the shady methods of the American authorities. Another favorite tactic of the government in its “war on terror” is the use of so-called entrapment cases, when suspects are being roped into a fake “terrorist plot”, staged by the FBI undercover agents. While it is impossible to deny the necessity to confront domestic terrorism, it is also obvious that such murky methods may only make the situation worse, intensifying the existing social and ethnic contradictions. And it may hardly be surprising that Islamophobic sentiments are growing stronger in such an atmosphere of paranoia, created by the government.