Thousands walk to slain Muslim teen's funeral in Virginia

- The brother of one of three young people slain in 2015 added his voice Wednesday to mourners nationwide remembering Nabra Hassanen, 17, who was bludgeoned with a baseball bat Sunday in Virginia.

A large group gathered in Dupont Circle and around several major cities to honor Nabra, who was killed during a suspected road rage incident as she walked to a mosque in Fairfax County early Sunday morning, according to police.

All parents who have successfully raised children into teenagers know fear for their safety as they become more independent.

Amid the questions surrounding the murder, Fariad said now is a time for unity. "We must come together to send an opposing message that all people, regardless of their religious or ethnic background, are safe, welcome and protected".

This photo provided by the Fairfax County Police Department shows Darwin Martinez Torres, of Sterling, Va. Martinez Torres was held on a murder charge Monday, June 19, 2017, in the slaying of a teenage Muslim girl who was attacked during a breakfast break from an all-night prayer session at her mosque.

"When you see an attack against one community, it has to be viewed as an attack against all communities", said Randal Cutter, a pastor at New Dawn Community Church in Coral Springs.

The funeral of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen is being held Wednesday afternoon at the mosque.

The victim's father, Mohmoud Hassanen Aboras, has said the motive behind his daughter's death is of no interest to him, according to the AP.

"I promise we will bring justice for Nabra and her community", he told Magid before the vigil began.

Nabra, 17, was allegedly assaulted with the bat, thrown into the vehicle and taken to a second location where she was assaulted again before being thrown in a pond.

Islamic leaders are questioning Virginia detectives' insistence that the beating death of a teenage Muslim girl appears to have been a case of road rage, saying the attack looks all too much like a hate crime.

Lamia Sarver of McLean does not usually attend the ADAMS mosque, but said she wants to support the Hassanen family. She said the tragedy hits home because she has a daughter Nabra's age.

"That is the highest number since 2001, when the al Qaeda attacks on NY and elsewhere drove the number to its highest ever level, 481 hate crimes", according to Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Washington Post reported that Nabra Hassanen was the first born of four daughters, a popular and diligent student who had just completed 10th grade.

"Such incidents send shock waves through the entire community and have the potential to make communities feel unsafe and vulnerable", said Doron F. Ezickson, the Washington D.C. regional director for the Anti-Defamation League.

The brutal assault has alarmed the surrounding Muslim community and echoed worldwide with calls for a hate-crime investigation.

Although she says she's happy living and working here in "the best country in the world" - "the most modern, (with) the most civilized people, the most kind people", she says - she still can't wrap her head around the animosity that some Muslims face. "We can not forget her at all".

  • Leroy Wright