Thousands attend slain Muslim teen's funeral in Virginia

Her body was found Sunday evening in Loudoun County.

Officials told Fox5DC that the makeshift memorial in Dupont Circle for Nabra Hassanen was set on fire after remains were found burnt around the neighborhood's fountain around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The same day her funeral was held, Hassanen's memorial was torched in Washington.

Authorities said that Hassanen and a group of friends encountered Torres, who confronted them while they walked near a Fairfax County mosque in the early hours of Sunday morning.

"At this time, the incident does not appear to be motivated by bias", she said, according to the New York Daily News.

Hassanen was abducted by Torres outside her mosque at around 4 a.m., where she and a group of friends were gathering for Ramadan services. The killing of the Muslim girl has sparked both sorrow and outrage, as most of the American Muslims view the incident as a hate crime that could have happened to other Muslim teenagers.

"The Muslim community and ADAMS Center also has to address how people feel, and we know that people may feel that this is a hate crime and be outraged, and we're dealing with that", Salaam said.

Fairfax police, in their account of the attack, said Martinez Torres and one of the boys in the group got into an argument, and the motorist chased the youngsters down and got out swinging the bat. They said Martinez Torres caught up with Hassanen and beat her as her friends scattered, then put her in his vehicle, assaulted her again and dumped her body.

On Tuesday, religious leaders from Nabra's community held a news conference at which they said they trust the police and trust they'll do the right thing.

The driver allegedly became enraged after exchanging words with a boy in the group.

"Muslim kids and Christian kids in this neighbourhood grow up together".

A Muslim teen who police say was killed by an angry motorist in northern Virginia is being described as a bright girl who was loved by her community. His public defender's office has declined to comment.

Cops charged Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, in the death.

"She was innocent", he said.

Despite these horrific incidents and statistics, community members gathered at Hassanen's vigil to send the message that they refuse to be intimated or silenced by violence. The attack on Hassanen came as she was on her way to a mosque for Ramadan.

Police told WTTG on Tuesday that they are investigating whether she was sexually assaulted in one of the attacks.

"The Chief assured them we will continue to diligently investigate the case and provide our support", according to a police statement.

Virginia law defines these crimes, in part, as attempts to intimidate or instill fear in people targeted for their race or religion.

A hate crime in Virginia can bring up to five years behind bars if it results in injury.

Associated Press reporters Alanna Durkin Richer and Sarah Rankin contributed to this report from Richmond.

  • Larry Hoffman