Shaima Alawadi, Iraqi mother beaten savagely in San Diego, dies


Detroit area Iraqis register to vote at the designated voter registration site January 17, 2005 in Southgate, Michigan.


Bill Pugliano

An Iraqi mother of five living in San Diego, found severely beaten next to a threatening note saying "go back to your country," died on Saturday.

Alawadi, 32, had been on life support since Wednesday when her teenage daughter found her unconscious in the living room of their home in El Cajon in San Diego County, according to news reports.

The Associated Press cited Hanif Mohebi of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization that advocates for Muslim civil liberties, as saying she was taken off life support on Saturday.

"The family is in shock at the moment. They’re still trying to deal with what happened," Mohebi said.

Alawadi's daughter, Fatima Alhamidi told CNN affiliate KGTV that her mother had been beaten on the head repeatedly with a tire iron, and that the note had threatened the family to go back to Iraq and called them "terrorists."

A similar note was left outside the family home earlier in the month, however the family did not report it.

"A week ago they left a letter saying, 'This is our country, not yours, you terrorists,'" Alhamidi said. "So my mom ignored that, thinking (it was) kids playing around, pranking. And so the day they hurt her, they left it again and it said the same thing."

She said nothing was stolen from the house, indicating the attack was a hate crime.

"Why did you take my mother away from me? You took my best friend away from me," she said in the CNN interview. "Why? Why did you do it? I want to know. Answer me that."

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Lt. Mark Coit of the El Cajon confirmed a "threatening note" had been found "very close to where the victim was found."

However, the police would not say whether they were treating the case as a hate crime, CNN wrote.

"Evidence thus far leads us to believe this is an isolated incident," Coit reportedly said in a statement.

A family friend, Sura Alzaidy, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the attack apparently occurred after the father took the younger children to school.

Alawadi and her husband have three daughters and two sons, ranging in age from 8 to 17, Mohebi said.

Alzaidy said the family was from Iraq and Alawadi was a "respectful modest muhajiba", meaning she wore the hijab.

They family had lived in San Diego County for a few weeks, after moving from Michigan, Alzaidy said.

Alawadi's husband had previously worked in San Diego for the US army, as cultural advisers to train soldiers who were going to the Middle East.

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