Trayvon Martin case, Iraqi woman’s death spark ‘hoodies and hijab’ rally

Parallels are being drawn between the high-profile case of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot in Florida, and the death of Shaima Alawadi.


Shaima Alawadi. (YouTube/Al-Jazeera)

Alawadi, an Iraqi-American mother of five, died after a brutal beating in California last week. Next to her body was left the note: “Go back to your country, you terrorist.”

Federal investigators are looking into whether Martin’s death was racially-motivated, while California police are busy trying to ascertain whether Alawadi’s death was a hate crime.

Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was shot, and Alawadi wore a traditional hijab — but both articles of clothing possibly contributed to their deaths, students at the University of North Carolina - Asheville say. They have planned a “hoodies and hijab” rally to “stand up against hatred and racism.”

On Twitter, the phrase Million Hijab March is also beginning to gather steam. It’s a nod to the Million Hoodie March organized last week in support of the family of Trayvon Martin. This tweet was widely shared:

In a supremacist world, hijabs and hoodies affect your life expectancy. #ShaimaAlawadi #TrayvonMartin

— Mark Gonzales (@markgonzalesIS) March 25, 2012

On Facebook, a page entitled One Million Hijabs for Shaima has almost six thousand likes. The page shared a picture of Alawadi with the following note:

This is Shaima Alawadi. Now look at her smile. She could be your daughter, your sister, your friend. We cannot let the children in this country grow up in a world so full of hatred that a woman wearing a head scarf is afraid for her life, that a black kid wearing a hoodie is afraid for his life... Enough. The color of your skin, your gender or your outfit cannot be used an excuse or an invitation for violence. We are all Shaima. We need a Million Hijab March.

One woman responded to the note by saying that while she was a Quaker and usually wore a bonnet, she would wear a shawl until Alawadi’s killer was found.

(Via Storyful.)

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