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Found 3 results

  1. Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, of Sterling, Virginia, charged with the murder of a 17-year-old American Muslim girl is shown in this Fairfax County Police Department photo released in Fairfax, Virginia, US, June 19, 2017. Courtesy Fairfax County Police Dept./Handout via REUTERS WASHINGTON: A teenage Muslim girl killed by a bat-wielding motorist near a Virginia mosque was an apparent victim of "road rage" and her death is not being investigated as a hate crime, police said on Monday. Nabra Hassanen, 17, was attacked early on Sunday in Sterling, Virginia, about 50 kilometres west of Washington, after attending late-night prayers for the holy month of Ramazan, when many Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, of Sterling, has been arrested and charged with murder in the incident that began with a road dispute with a boy on a bicycle who was among a group of teenagers that included Hassanen, Fairfax County police spokeswoman Julie Parker said. "It appears that the suspect became so enraged over this traffic argument that it escalated into deadly violence," she told a news conference. Parker said there was no indication the attack near the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque was motivated by race or religion. Police said there was no sign that Martinez used racial slurs during the attack. Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, expressed solidarity with the Muslim centre and said a prayer vigil would be held on Wednesday at a high school. "With regard to this case, I am confident justice will be served," she said at the news conference. The attack took place about 3:40 AM as up to 15 teenagers, who had attended prayer services at the mosque, were returning from a fast-food restaurant, Parker said. Some of the teenagers were on the road and Martinez began arguing with the boy on a bicycle as he was driving in his car, Parker said. Martinez chased the youths into a parking lot, emerged from his car with a baseball bat, and struck Hassanen, she said. He loaded Hassanen into his car and dumped her in a pond in neighbouring Loudoun County, Parker said. A search team recovered the body on Sunday, and an autopsy showed she had suffered blunt force trauma to the upper body, she added. The Washington Post reported that Hassanen and her friends were dressed in abayas, the robe-like dress worn by some Muslim women, prompting fears the victim was targeted because she was Muslim. Police arrested Martinez about 90 minutes after the assault and a judge ordered that he remain jailed without bail, officials said. He has been assigned a public defender.
  2. VIRGINIA: A 17-year-old American Muslim girl was beaten and abducted after leaving a mosque in Virginia on Sunday by a man who police later arrested on suspicion of murder after her body was found dumped in a pond, authorities said. The attack spurred an outpouring of grief and horror in a Muslim community that has been gathering to pray at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque about 30 miles outside Washington in observance of the last 10 days of Ramadan. The attack happened early on Sunday after the victim and several friends walking outside the mosque got into a dispute with a motorist in the community of Sterling, the Fairfax County Police Department said in a statement. At one point, the motorist got out of his car and assaulted the girl, police said. The teen was reported missing by her friends who scattered during the attack and could not find her afterwards, touching off an hours-long search by authorities in Fairfax and Loudoun counties. At around 3pm, the remains of a female believed to be the teen victim were found in a pond in Sterling, police said. During the search for the missing teen, authorities stopped a motorist "driving suspiciously in the area" and arrested the driver, later identified as identified as Darwin Martinez Torres, 22. Police obtained a murder warrant that charges Torres for her death, the Fairfax County Police Department said. A police spokeswoman told reporters the attack followed some sort of dispute between the man and the girls, and authorities had not ruled out hate as a motivation for the attack. The number of anti-Muslim bias incidents in the United States jumped 57 percent in 2016 to 2,213, up from 1,409 in 2015, the Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group said in a report last month. While the group had been seeing a rise in anti-Muslim incidents prior to Donald Trump's stunning rise in last year's presidential primaries and November election victory, it said the acceleration in bias incidents was due in part to Trump's focus on militant groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric. In an incident in London on Monday, a van ploughed into worshippers leaving a mosque, killing at least one person and injuring several in what Britain's largest Muslim organisation said was a deliberate act of Islamophobia. Isra Chaker, a person who said in a Facebook post that she was close to a family friend of the victim in the Virginia incident, said the driver came out with a baseball bat and began swinging it at the girls, Chaker said. "She then went missing (presumably kidnapped/moved by the suspect) and was found dead this afternoon," Chaker said. An online fundraiser for the girl's family had raised $61,606 by Sunday evening. Police said a medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to confirm the victim's identity and cause of death, though detectives believe the body found in the pond was the missing girl.
  3. Police and townsfolk in Waynesboro, Virginia, are trying to figure out why someone is abducting pet cats and returning them with hairless underbellies. Since December, at least seven cats have suddenly shown up at their homes with shaved belly, groin, and leg areas, Waynesboro Police Captain Kelly Walker said on Friday. "The shaving appears to be almost surgical," Walker said. No harm was done to the animals, but they "seemed a little skittish" after the curious incidents, he said. The occurrences came to the attention of police when an owner asked about posting flyers to encourage the public to report suspicious activity to authorities. "Shaving Cats!!??" says the poster in Waynesboro, a city of 21,000 about 140 miles (225 km) south-west of Washington, D.C. "Several neighbourhood cats have been ABDUCTED and had their lower abdomens and groin areas SHAVED. This is very upsetting to the cats and their owners," the poster says. Walker said the cats were collar-wearing, well-groomed pets, not strays or feral cats, although some were outdoor cats. All of them had been either neutered and spayed before the shaving incidents, he said. The investigation focuses on five cats - some of whom were shaved twice - from one household and two cats from another, who came home partially hairless three weeks ago. "Probably the best solution is for whoever is doing this to just stop," Walker said.