San Diego, CA, March 26, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed law enforcement's continuing investigation into whether the murder of Shaima Alawadi, an El Cajon resident, Iraqi immigrant and mother of five, was hate-motivated.
Alawadi's teen-age daughter reportedly discovered her mother unconscious on the dining room floor, having been beaten in the head with a tire iron. Next to her body was a threatening and xenophobic note that allegedly read, in part, "Go back to your country."
Tammy Gillies, ADL San Diego Regional Director, stated:
"We are dismayed not only by this horrific crime but also by the specter that it may be bias-motivated. We are confident that local law enforcement will conduct a thorough review of the deeply troubling claims surrounding this case and take appropriate action. It is this type of appalling tragedy that underscore the continuing importance of anti-bias education throughout our community."
For decades, the League has spearheaded efforts to ensure that local, state and federal law enforcement have important tools to combat bias-motivated crime. In 1981, ADL drafted model hate crimes legislation covering all hate crimes. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have since enacted laws based on or similar to the model, which was unanimously found constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993.
The League led a broad coalition effort in support of the 2009 enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act - the most important comprehensive and inclusive federal hate crimes enforcement law in 40 years.