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Girls & Women

Nabra Hassanen Was an American Muslim Teen — She Was Killed Sunday Outside of a Mosque

Nabra Hassanen had just finished Ramadan prayers — and a late-night hangout with her friends at IHOP afterward — when she was brutally attacked and killed early Sunday morning in Virginia.

Hassanen was 17.

She wore a hijab and a nose ring, loved fashion and makeup, celebrated iftar — the breaking-the-fast meal celebrated by Muslims during Ramadan — and took Snapchat photos with her friends, according to The Washington Post.

In the hours before the murder, Hassanen had invited friends from the mosque and from her high school over for an iftar dinner cooked by her mother, Sawsan Gazzar, and then the group had gone to evening prayers at All Dulles mosque, according to the report. After the late prayers, they went for another snack to prepare themselves for another day of fasting.

Read More: The Day After the Mosque Burns

But as they were walking back from IHOP around 3 a.m. Sunday morning, a man in a red car pulled up and got into some sort of “dispute” with the teens, according to Fairfax County police.  

While the rest of the teens ran behind the mosque to escape, police said they believe the man got out of his car and assaulted Hassanen.

When her friends could not find her, the staff at the All Dulles Area Muslims Society (ADAMS) immediately filed a missing person report.

Hassanan’s body was found in a pond nearby on Sunday afternoon and a metal bat was found close to the location, according to NBC News.

Police arrested and charged Darwin Martinez Torres, a 22-year-old resident of Sterling, Va., with murder. They are not investigating the murder as a hate crime, according to NBC.

Read More: How One Night of Terror Turned Into Days of Hope for This Texas Mosque

Crimes against Muslims are on the rise in the United States and elsewhere throughout the world — there were nearly 140 attack on mosques in the US last year. But as crimes have increased, so too have the responses of support and love from communities where Muslims live, according to this report from Global Citizen, “The Day After the Mosque Burned.”

As in those cases, the community in Fairfax, Va., has responded to the death of Hassanen. A crowdfunding page to support her family raised $18,000 within an hour on Sunday night, and it has raised more than $160,000 by midday Monday.

On the page, a photo shows Nabra in jeans, sneakers, and a hijab, wearing lipstick and glasses, smiling at the camera, looking like any other American teen.