Nabra Hassanen killed in 'road rage incident'

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A funeral prayer service for Nabra Hassanen, the Muslim teen who was attacked and killed early Sunday near a Virginia mosque, will be held Wednesday.

Nabra was among a group of teenagers who were gathered at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society for an all-night event overnight Saturday during Ramadan, and who were returning to the center after going to eat at a fast food restaurant.

The Associated Press reported that Fairfax County police spokeswoman Julie Parker said at a news conference Monday that "Nothing indicates that (Hassanen's death) was motivated by race or by religion".

"You can't just say, 'Oh, he didn't say anything against Islam, so no hate crime, '" said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

Nabra's family has said she was wearing a long women's garment known as an abaya and a hijab head covering.

At the funeral, where an overflow area was itself overflowing with mourners, Magid acknowledged that the slaying has people grieving and fearful, but he praised the many people who turned out "in a fever" to search for the teen before police discovered her body Sunday afternoon.

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Magid said he sought to comfort the victim's mother by telling her that a person who dies in such a manner will enter paradise with no questions asked.

Police said Hassanen was bludgeoned with a baseball bat early Sunday by a motorist who drove up to about 15 Muslim teenagers as they walked or bicycled along a road.

"What investigators told the father and the mother, he hit her in the head and put her in the auto and he threw her in the water", said family friend and spokesperson Abas Sherif. Police said he beat her with a baseball bat early Sunday, drove off with her in his auto and assaulted her again - they haven't said how - before dumping her body in a pond near her home. Her body was found Sunday evening in Loudoun County.

This undated image provided by the Hassanen family shows Nabra Hassanen in Fairfax, Va. Police in Fairfax, Va., said Monday, June 19, 2017, that "road rage" was to blame for the slaying of a 17-year-old muslim girl who was walking with friends to her mosque between Ramadan prayers this weekend.

Police say the girl was assaulted a second time before her body was dumped in a pond in Loudon County, but the Fairfax detectives continue to take the lead in the case.

Most hate-crime cases are handled by state prosecutors, and typically carry stiffer penalties than crimes charged without a bias component.

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"That is the highest number since 2001, when the al Qaeda attacks on NY and elsewhere drove the number to its highest ever level, 481 hate crimes", according to Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Beyond the tougher potential punishment, formally attaching the hate-crime label in court can signal to the broader community that certain heinous acts are different due to their intended impact.

"Such incidents send shock waves through the entire community and have the potential to make communities feel unsafe and vulnerable", ADL's Washington regional director Doron F. Ezickson said in a statement.

The teens scattered and most ran back to the mosque, but Nabra tripped on her traditional dress and fell.

At the same time, he said there are people in the Muslim community who are less concerned with the legalities of what constitutes a hate crime and have a more visceral reaction. No federal charges have been filed.

A funeral service is planned for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday for Hassanen at her northern Virginia mosque, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society. Why, when my daughter fell down, why did he hit her? "For what?" Mohmoud Hassanen said. He doesn't know us. We don't hate anybody because of religion or color.

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"I just wanted to support the family and the community", said Omar Ghowrwal, 34, who traveled to the mosque alone from neighboring Ashburn, Virginia.

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