Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shaima Alawadi


I've always kind of liked the muslim women who wear headscarves. I think it's because they remind me of nuns, who I like. Nuns are simple,honorable,kind of mysterious,and any number of other good adjectives really. Agnes of God, Buddhist kung fu doing nuns, Hildegard von Bingen : there are alot of cool nuns, but not ones like at that place in Ireland where they made the girls do laundry all the time everyday. They suck. Monks are cool too.


I knew a few hijabis, mainly at shiachat and they were pretty funny. It was "clean" humor there but crazy all the same, maybe for that reason. In general they and the guys seemed like loveable goofballs with regrettable lapses into conspiracy theories and constantly asking some imam somewhere if this or that was haram (non-okay) or not. Being shia, they were used to being in the minority and stuck together. What I liked most about shiachat was they had a rule against swearing and in general promoted civil dialogue. Also, at the time discussing Israel was very taboo. I was thrown off of countless blogs and boards over it. That was not in danger of happening at a muslim board. So I've got a soft spot for the em.

Yet, I wasn't particularly disturbed by the death of Shaima Alawadi initally. I kind of ignored it and in retrospect it was for a good reason. Shaima Alawadi was a shia woman in California who was brutally killed, ostensibly by a bigoted home invader whe left a note saying “This is my country. Go back to yours, terrorist.” The woman's daughter Fatima made a tearful statment to the media and Alawadi's death was publicly memorialized, in some cases along with Trayvon Martin's. One Million Hijabis appeared on facebook. Her name spread throughout the muslim world.


There were some people, there are still in fact, who were asking why it wasn't a bigger story. The reason: people were waiting for the smoke to clear because something smelled funny. We Americans might not be smart but we do watch a ton of cop shows. Though they admonished each other for insensitivity initially, people started to cautiously wonder. The police then released the affadavit and it's contents turned the perception of the case fully around on it's head (does that make sense?).

This blog piece at a progressive christian site follows a typical sort of trajectory : The author lays into western civilization for islamaphobia and gives a litany of crimes against muslims and so forth. Gradually as the story changes the comments do as well. Finally the author throws her hands up and renounces the piece. Others continue saying stuff about islamophobia for some reason and people move on.

The other side kind of blew it to though. Atlas Shrugs and Deb Schlussel for all their alleged expertise on radical islam both mis-solved the case right away as well. Not as a hate crime but as an honor killing. This article from what looks like a pretty normal muslim bashing site was excellent and well researched and in fact negates much of the need for this here one. oh well.

So what did happen? There is a one in a million chance it could have been a hate crime, though you know what, no there isn't read the affadavit. While their may have been domestic violence, the father was not in the house at the time, at least according to the report:

"Alawadi’s husband, Kassim Alhimidi, had reportedly left to take the couple’s other younger children to school, although police state in the March 27 affidavit that his whereabouts had not yet been confirmed."

Fatima Alawdi

The daughter is at the top of the list right now. Backstory: She had been acting out and so forth, a la a stereotypical second generation Americanized adoloscent. She apparently got busted getting it on with a guy in a car. On the way home from the police she jumped out of the car, an apparent suicide attempt. She was at some point, maybe that night? not clear, informed she was going to arranged marry one of her cousins. Thus, there are ample reasons to be suspicious of her and, as it takes two to tango, her male friend. (Amazingly, some random journalist guy was there when all of that happened, the car was parked in front of his house.) A suspicious person was seen fleeing the murder scene but that might be a red herring. It's described briefly in the thing. A very incriminating text mssage was recovered from her phone. I can't tell if it was sent by her or to her but it reads "The detective will find out tell them (can't) talk,".

Clearly these people are all flight risks but they split, ostensibly to go to the mothers funeral in Baghdad. They are set to come back to the US in 2 weeks but even Chief Wiggum would realize they probably won't. Now what happens? I'd imagine the Iraqi police have other priorities. The facebook page has kind of morphed into a general we like muslims tribute page. Perhaps the family make their way into Syria or Iran? Who knows. The culture clash of being muslims in the west, the inflexability of muslim traditions, Americans intolerance of muslims and arabs and so forth are no doubt in this story somewhere but not as near the top as most initially thought.


  1. So what exactly are you saying you think happened because this post is pretty rambling and semi-coherent.

  2. haha. I suspect the daughter. i think it has very little to do with islam or anything else, i suspect she's mentally unstable. I'll try to be more clear next time.

    1. Don't really know much about the case but my guess would more likely fall on the boyfriend, especally if he wasn't Muslim himself and that was why the parents objected.

  3. Kubrick's RubeApril 21, 2012 at 7:12 AM

    "There were some people, there are still in fact, who were asking why it wasn't a bigger story."

    It is interesting that whatever the facts of the case, and as the narrative changed, the media really wasn't interested. I don't mean not interested in the facts, I mean not interested in the case at all. So from one side it looks like pro-Muslim bias and from the other it looks like anti-Muslim bias. It's ironic how often that happens, where both sides think the bias is against them. (Not that each isn't sometimes right.)

  4. Kubricks- I'm fascinated by what becomes a story and what doesn't.

    My other thing I write about is movies and I'm always wondering why this movie was popular and this one wasn't. Like "Closer", for example, was an amazing movie in my opinion, but I think the title and Julia Roberts' presence made people think it was going to be a rom com when it was anything but. So that might account for some of the negative reaction to it. That's just a random example.

    News stories are the same way. Why is the secret service thing a big deal when, say, the report from Afghanistan in Rolling Stone was relegated to Democracy Now and other sort of programs? I was interested in the latter not the former but I guess most people weren't.

    1. I think we've found our common ground, because I too am fascinated by why some movies are mainstream hits and some are not. Mainly I'm interested in why certain films aren't bigger than they should be. The star system is basically dead. No one (with the possible exception of Will Smith) can open a movie anymore.