As police continue to investigate whether the murder of Shaima Alawadi, who lived in San Diego County's El Cajon, was a hate crime, neighbors and family are reeling, KPBS's Adrian Florido reports. Alawadi, a 32-year-old mother of five, was found with a threatening note next to her beaten body. It read, in part, "Go back to your country," friends and family have said.
El Cajon hosts the U.S.'s second largest community of Iraqis, and tensions have occasionally flared there as huge population influx, which began after the first Gulf War, has placed more demand on city services. Hanif Mohebi, director of San Diego's Council on American-Islamic Relations, said disturbing discrimination-related incidents have been on the rise in the area.
"In the past two to three months we have had some level of increase in at least reporting of hate crimes or discrimination and hate incidents within the San Diego County. We're still trying to figure out the reason why that may be," he told Florida.
Alawadi, who was a U.S. citizen, is being flown back to Iraq for her funeral.