Friday, April 18, 2014

The Alhimidi Verdict: Some Thoughts

Gary Fouse

With the guilty verdict in San Diego yesterday, hopefully we can now put a close on what was a disgraceful episode even beyond the brutal murder of Shaima Alawadi. In 2012 when Alawadi was found bludgeoned to death in her El Cajon home, the family and CAIR rushed to call this a hate crime by someone who hated having Muslims in the community. A faked note was found by the body telling the family to get out of the country. One of the daughters, Fatima, spoke to reporters behind huge sunglasses and lectured the public about Islamophobia calling it a hate crime. The media went along. Coupled with the Treyvon Martin case, activists came up with the phrase, "Hijabs and hoodies" and made it their theme. At one point young Muslims from Orange County were prepared to travel to El Cajon to hold a vigil until abruptly told by San Diego CAIR to hold off until further details came out. Hold off because it appeared it might not be a hate crime rather an honour killing?

Yes, because it began to come out that number one, Fatima was involved in a family problem because she was the object of a planned arranged marriage and she had a boyfriend, which her parents disapproved of. Secondly, because Shaima Alawadi wanted a divorce from Kassim Alhimidi.

In December 2012, I attended the MPAC 2012 annual conference at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, which was generally an exercise in bashing "Islamophobes". There was one exception. A courageous young Muslim social worker from New York, Raja Darakshan, spoke. She told of the horrible torture-murder of a young Muslim boy by his step-father. She also referred to the Alawadi murder case, and recalled how much the Muslim community in the US was involved in the case when the accusation was a hate crime then turned away and went silent when it became apparent that it was an honour killing. Domestic abuse, she told the audience, was the biggest problem in the US Muslim community.

When Alhimidi was charged with the murder, CAIR and the media had egg on their faces. Now we have a verdict based on the evidence. This was an honour killing staged by an enraged husband, and it was staged to look like a hate crime indicting American society in the process for an act that has yet to be carried out. Had this murder been a hate crime, it would have been the first recorded murder of this type against a Muslim woman. Americans, with few exceptions, are not attacking Muslims. Contrast that with what is happening to Christians in Muslim countries as we speak. However, this is not the first case of an honour killing in North America.

Of course, Alhimidi is not the first husband to murder his wife nor the first to kill her over a pending divorce. An Orange County court yesterday convicted a Coptic Christian man of having his wife killed because she was divorcing him, and he didn't want to lose half of his assets. The difference we must ask ourselves is whether Alhimidi thought he could justify his actions according to his own values and why members of the family might have gone along with him-or did they really believe that an intruder committed the crime? I have my doubts. More likely I suspect (cannot prove) that they themselves believed there might be some justification in Alhimidi's actions. I should add here that Shaima's mother and other blood relatives were happy at the verdict and believed that Shaima had achieved justice. Fatima said in a statement that she still loved her father but believed he was guilty (I am paraphrasing).

And what does CAIR San Diego have to say today? Here is their website. Nothing. (I don't know if they have made any statements to the media outside of their website.) Similarly, nothing is on the CAIR national website as of this writing.

As for this hijabs and hoodies refrain, I think it is time we put that to rest.

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