Egypt prosecutor opens investigation into murder of Egyptian-American girl in Virginia
Ahram Online, , Tuesday 4 Jul 2017

Egypt’s top prosecutor will launch an investigation into the murder last month of an American Muslim girl of Egyptian descent in a suspected hate crime in the US state of Virginia.

On 18 June, Nabra Hassanen, 17, was killed after 22-year-old suspect Darwin Martinez Torres mocked her and her friends as they stopped at a restaurant after leaving a nearby mosque.

The Egyptian prosecutor-general’s office said that it would send a request to US judicial authorities for official documents from the investigation into the incident, including forensic reports.

Hassanen was beaten to death with a baseball bat after she and around five of her friends were chased near their mosque in Virginia by a man hurling insults at them. Hassanen’s friends managed to escape the attacker, while she failed to do so, the Egyptian prosecutor’s office said, citing reports by US police and local mosque officials.

Following the attack, Egypt’s foreign ministry said it is monitoring developments in the case through its embassy in Washington DC.

According to the ministry, Hassanen’s attacker was repeating racial slurs as he chased Hassanen and her friends.

Virginia police have arrested Torres and charged him with the kidnapping and murder of Hassanen.

Police say the murder was a “road rage incident,” not a hate crime.

Muslim-American activists, however, say that the murder was a hate crime that is part of increased “Islamophobia” in US society.

Egypt's Al-Azhar, considered world’s highest seat of Sunni Islamic learning, has denounced the murder, warning of a “worrying growth in Islamophobia” that threatens the lives of Muslims in Western countries.

The number of anti-Muslim crimes in the US 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.

The group says that anti-Muslim incidents have increased after the election of US President Donald Trump in November.