A few dozen people gathered at Philadelphia City Hall Tuesday evening to mourn the passing of Nabra Hassanen, the 17-year-old Muslim woman from Sterling, Va., who was beaten to death with a baseball bat early on June 18th.
Candles and lavender flowers surrounded posters commemorating Hassanen. Paying their respects, community members held signs that proclaimed “Justice for Nabra” and “Stop Profiling Muslims.”
Maryam Elourbi, an organizer of the vigil and a current fellow with the Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment, said that she is very saddened by the loss.
“Hearing about what happened to her really hit home because I was doing the same thing this weekend,” she said. “I was at a dinner with friends having Suhur.” Suhur is a pre-dawn meal that people have during Ramadan. Hassanen was walking with her friends after having the meal when she was attacked.
“It was just really devastating to see that happen to somebody who was so young, and somebody who was completely innocent,” Elourbi said.
Linda Holtzman, a Rabi at Tikkun Olam Chavurah, was one of the locals who showed up to extend support.
“I think it’s important for everybody to show up. Whenever there’s a violent loss in one community, we all hurt, and we need to acknowledge that we all hurt, and own that,” she said.
Speakers at the vigil called for an end to hate crimes and violence against Muslim-Americans.
“We’re not visitors, we’re not add ons, we’re not exceptions,” Elourbi said. “We are crucial to the makeup of this country, and so we should be treated as such and respected as such.”