The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Iraqi to Stand Trial in Murder First Thought to be Hate Crime

By Bill Morlin on August 1, 2013 - 8:24 am, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Hate Crime
Kassim Al Himidi

An Iraqi immigrant faces a murder trial Aug. 8 in California in the 2012 death of his wife, whose fatal beating initially sparked international attention as a possible anti-Muslim hate crime.

After the FBI ruled out the possibility of a hate crime, police in El Cajon, Calif., pursued the investigation, looking at domestic violence as a possible motive.

Kassim Al Himidi, 49, was arrested last November following his return to the United States after burying his wife, 32-year-old Shaima Alawadi, in the couple’s native Iraq.  She was found severely beaten in the family’s home in El Cajon on March 21, 2012, and died in a hospital three days later.

A note saying, “This is my country, go back to yours, terrorist,” was found in the home the day of the beating, and a similar threatening note was found eight days earlier, leading to initial speculation of a possible hate crime.

At the time, the victim’s husband, who had worked for the U.S. military as a cultural adviser, told police he was taking the couple’s younger children to school when the assault occurred.

At a preliminary hearing last week in El Cajon, a judge ruled there is sufficient probable cause for Al Himidi to stand trial even though he continues to maintain his innocence.

One of the couple’s daughters testified at the hearing that her parents, who fled Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s regime in the 1990s, started having marital problems in August 2011. Her mother wanted a divorce and planned to move to Texas, where her family lived, the San Diego television station CBS8 reported.

  • aadila

    Well with the NSA there, at least we know someone is willing to listen to us. Not a friend exactly. No, not a friend. But someone who understands.

  • concernedcitizen

    Well we don’t know what happened but the fact that he was working for the military does open the questions and doors for an investigation to a hate crime.

    It’s unfortunate that our military appears to be a hiding place for some very serious racists.

    I only hope that the same amount of attention and efforts that are being put into trying to stop sexual harassment in the military will also be put into stopping white supremacists from using the military as a hideout from state and federal authorities.

    But given the NSA intelligence gathering I can’t imagine they don’t already know about this.

  • Reynardine

    Women preparing to divorce or leave are prime candidates for being forced to stop living against their wills. Of course, certain quarters will spin this as a Mooslamic honor killing. But

    A. Just because it wasn’t a hate crime doesn’t mean it was an act of domestic violence;
    B. If it was domestic violence, that doesn’t mean it was an “honor killing”;
    C. “Honor killings”, in the sense of murders carried out to satisfy the demands of a community to regain family reputation in the eyes of said community, are hardly “Mooslamic”. They occurred in (inter alia) Andalucía, Corsica, and Sicily right through the 1960’s.

    I’d add that one of the daughters, at the time, struck me as more smirky than grief-stricken.