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Hijab and hoodies protests sparked by Iraqi woman’s murder


Julie Tomlin
WVoN co-editor

Black hijabs and hoodies will be worn at a protest on Thursday, one of a number taking place following the deaths of an Iraqi woman in California and a black teenager in Florida.

The protests follow the murder last week of Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old living in California who died on Saturday. Her body was discovered in a pool of blood in her San Diego home (see WVoN story).

Her murder is being treated as a possible hate crime after her daughter said that a letter found next to her repeated the same threat made in a previous note that said: “Go back to your country, terrorist.”

Twitter users who discussed the crime and their response using the hashtags #MillionHijabMarch and #RIPShaima quickly drew parallels with the shooting of Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in the town of Sanford last month.

One twitter user @markgonzalesIS wrote:

In a supremacist world, hijabs and hoodies affect your life expectancy. #ShaimaAlawadi #TrayvonMartin

The students at the University of North Carolina in Asheville are organising a ‘hoodies and hijab’ rally on March 29 to “stand up against hatred and racism”.

“These are just two cases out of thousands, we are a part of the generation that needs to make a difference,” the organisers wrote.

The Facebook page called One Million Hijabs for Shaima Alawadi was created to raise awareness of the incident has over 5,800 ‘likes’.

Creators of the site, which is also coordinating protests across the country, wrote:

“This is #ShaimaAlwadi. Now look at her smile. She could be your daughter, your sister, your friend.

“We cannot let the children in this country grow up in a world so full of hatred that a woman wearing a head scarf is afraid for her life, that a black kid wearing a hoodie is afraid for his life, a world where a victim of sexual violence gets the blame for the actions of the perpetrator because of what she was wearing. Enough.

“The color of your skin, your gender or your outfit cannot be used an excuse or an invitation for violence. We are all Shaima. We need a Million Hijab March.”

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