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Public Safety

Threatening Note Probed After El Cajon Iraqi Mother Dies From Brutal Beating

Police today sealed the coroners report about the death of an Iraqi woman, who was brutally beaten in her El Cajon home after getting what was described as a terrorist threat.

Shaima Alawadi was taken off life support machines at a hospital about 3 p.m. Saturday.

The head of the San Diego Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations, Hanif Mohebi, said today that his community really wants to find "whomever it is that has committed this outrageous act.''


"We want to make sure that we lend any kind of support to the investigators,'' Mohebi said.

Her 17-year-old daughter had found Alawadi unconscious about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday in the dining room of their home in the 500 block of Skyview Street.

The girl, Fatima Alhimidi, told KUSI-TV her mother had been beaten with a tire iron, and a note left in the home said, in part, "go back to your country, you terrorist.''

Family friend Sura Alzaidy told U-T San Diego that Alawadi wore a traditional Muslim hijab or headscarf. Alzaidy said the family had lived in the home only a few weeks, having moved back to San Diego County after living in Michigan.

Alzaidy's father and Alawadi's husband had worked together in San Diego as contractors for the U.S. Army, serving as cultural advisers to train soldiers to be deployed to the Middle East She said she believed the husband was driving the younger children -- the couple have three daughters and two sons -- to school when the attack occurred.


Police declined to disclose the contents of the note. It was unclear if any suspect had been identified or if any physical evidence was recovered other than the note. A spokesman for the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said the case had been "sealed'' at the request of investigators.

Police said a similar threatening note was found earlier this month, but the family did not report it to the authorities.

Mohebi said the American-Islamic center had offered its support to the investigators.

"Our community members really need to take any type of hate notes or hate incidents very seriously and they need to report it,'' Mohebi said.

Alawadi was described as kind, funny and caring by family members. She was known to sew special occasion dresses for children in the community, according to Mohebi. Her dream was to build bridges between the Muslim and Christian communities, he said. Mohebi said her family was in shock.

"One of her dreams was to work and to bring an understanding between the Christians and the Muslims in the community,'' Mohebi said.

An outpouring of support to find justice for Alawadi came through social media channels.

The "One Million Hijabs For Shaima Alawadi'' Facebook page was created to "spread love and light and show the family of Shaima that ... they are loved and their pain is our pain, their mother is our mother, their wife is our wife. She could be your sister, your friend, your neighbor. Only words of love will honor her life and make her death have a higher meaning.''

Facebook pages "We will not forget you, Shaima Alawadi,'' and "Justice for Shaima Alawadi'' were also posted.

Police asked anyone with information regarding the investigation to contact them at (619) 579-3311.

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