A memorial built in remembrance of Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year-old Muslim girl who was murdered earlier this month near her mosque in Virginia, has been defaced by vandals, FOX 5 DC reports.
Hassanen was walking home from a late night prayer service at her mosque over father’s day weekend when she was reported missing after being separated from a group of friends under violent circumstances. It was later confirmed that Hassanen was attacked and kidnapped by 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres.
Her friends described a situation wherein Torres began harassing them, leading to a chase in which the friends and Hassanen were separated. Her body was found badly beaten later that weekend in a pond nearby. Police are also investigating whether she was sexually assaulted.
— sona (@DennisSeeree) June 21, 2017
Controversy surrounds the incident as the local police department investigating the crime have determined the intent behind Torres’s motivations wasn’t because of Hassanen’s faith. They have said the incident was an example of “road rage.”
Though debate swarms around whether her murder was a hate crime or not, it appears that hate has driven someone to desecrate a memorial put nearby. Police have arrested a suspect, 24-year-old Jonathan Soloman, who is from South Carolina.
i'm disgusted. "Nabra Hassanen's memorial set on fire in Dupont Circle" https://t.co/R07s7m02rB
— Paige Dearing (@paigedearing) June 21, 2017
The FBI describes a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” It’s unclear whether local law enforcement will determine the fire to have been set under those circumstances, although many people have already expressed on social media that it couldn’t be described in any other manner.
Nabra Hassanen was beaten, sexually assaulted, and killed. Today, her memorial set on fire. Is this a hate crime yet? Does her life matter? https://t.co/JPX6joNoQW
— Nikki nagler (@nikki_kenickie) June 21, 2017
#Nabra's memorial in DC was set on fire yesterday, and we still don't want to investigate the case as a hate crime…
— Moorish Moon (@MimsJDoe) June 21, 2017