An Iraqi-exile woman's murder outside San Diego last March now appears to be a case of domestic violence.
Shaima Alawadi was bludgeoned to death in her home in El Cajon, Calif. The case drew international attention as a possible hate crime when a note found near her body said "Go back to your country, you terrorist." But police said they were investigating other leads. Alawadi's husband, Kassim Alhimidi, reportedly was arrested Thursday evening and charged with first degree murder.
Investigators found draft divorce papers in Alawadi's van after the murder and the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that she discussed taking her kids to Texas to live with relatives.
It's a far more common motive than the claims made immediately after the killing.
Islamist groups used the note, which would now appear to have been an attempt to misdirect investigators, to argue that Islamophobia in America had grown so severe that Muslims were being attacked in their homes or for their dress. Alawadi wore a hijab.
A Facebook page called for "a Million Hijab March" to protest the killing. Activists likened her case to the Florida shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, who allegedly was seen as threatening in part because he wore a hoodie.
Dawud Walid, who leads the Michigan office for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was among those who pushed the hate crime theory. "Shaima Al-Awadi's murder, like Trayvon Martin's, was a senseless murder based upon racial animus," he said. "We must come together as a society to have frank discussions about the toxic rhetorical environment which we currently live in that leads to such wanton violence."
Alawadi's death is a tragedy no matter why it happened. And it shows groups like CAIR and others will continue to hype hate crimes without any proof, and often in cases that turn out to be entirely wrong.