Memorial for Nabra Hassanen set on fire in Washington, DC

On Wednesday morning, a memorial for 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen, who was murdered last weekend after being abducted outside her mosque, was set on fire in Washington, D.C.'s Dupont Circle. They say Torres became enraged with the group of teens and exited his vehicle wielding a baseball bat, striking Nabra.

Joshua Salaam of the ADAMS Center said at a press conference Tuesday that police "have given us complete confidence". "Love is stronger than any hate that tries to stop us", said attendee Elayne Burke.

Around 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 18, the remains of a female were found in a pond in between two office buildings on Ridgetop Circle and the Fields at Cascades apartments on Huntington Square in Sterling, approximately 4 miles from the mosque.

"We have people who may feel this is a hate crime, and we're dealing with that", he said.

He said he sought to comfort the victim's mother by telling her that a person who dies in such a manner "will enter paradise, with not any question asked". Police say she was then taken to Loudoun County, where she was assaulted again and her body was thrown into a pond.

Torres appeared by videoconference from jail for an arraignment Monday in a Fairfax County juvenile court, Morrogh said. He said the teen's death has prompted the entire community to rally and that the Muslim community is not alone in its grief.

He said Nabra fell down as her friends got away before the alleged beating.

Numerous vigils are encouraging attendees to bring flowers rather than candles to hold during the vigil.

The murder of Hassanen has been classified as a "road rage incident" and police are still investigating whether she was also sexually assaulted.

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But there's no evidence the death of Nabra Hassanen, 17, who was attacked early Sunday as she and a group of teenagers walked back to a mosque, was a hate crime, authorities in Fairfax County said.

They will be followed by a vigil in Reston on Wednesday evening after a funeral that afternoon. Fairfax Police said Martinez Torres chased the youngsters with a baseball bat, and catching up with Hassanen and beating her after her friends had scattered. His public defender, Dawn Butorac, declined to comment.

Torres has been charged with murder and faces a maximum punishment of life in prison.

Meanwhile, there has been a heated debate in the Muslim community in the states as to whether her killing should be tried as a hate crime or not. "Indeed. If you think for a minute that her appearance had nothing to do with this crime, you're lying to yourself".

Nabra was among a group of teenagers who were gathered at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society for an all-night event overnight Saturday during Ramadan, and who were returning to the center after going to eat at a fast food restaurant.

The fact that she was murdered in such a ruthless and heinous manner is sickening on its own, but for someone to be heartless enough to destroy her memorial is downright abhorrent.

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

On Father's Day, Mohmoud Hassanen spent the day at the mosque.

"We call on law enforcement to investigate all aspects of the motive", said Rizwan Jaka, ADAMS Center chairman of the board.

  • Sonia Alvarado