On October 19, Alia Ansari, mother of six, was walking to school to pick up some of her children.
Ansari, who was born in Afghanistan, was wearing a hijab.
“Ansari was walking in a residential neighborhood when a gunman pulled up in a car and fired at her before driving away,” AP reported. “Her three-year-old child witnessed the shooting but was unharmed.” Ansari was killed.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations for the San Francisco Bay Area has asked the police to “determine whether this was a hate crime or not, especially in light of the actual circumstance of the crime, and in light of the current political climate,” said Abdul Rahman Hamamsy, civil rights coordinator for the group.
It’s “still under investigation,” says Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler. “We’re looking at all the angles.”
Steckler, along with other community leaders and a representative of the U.S. Justice Department, will be at an open forum on Friday, November 3, which is being sponsored by the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of the East Bay.
“Such a crime affects the entire community, and people are obviously concerned about their own safety, as well as about how to respond,” said Safaa Ibrahim, executive director of the CAIR-San Francisco Bay Area chapter.
Abiya Ahmed, who is the media relations coordinator for the group, says that Ansari’s widower and their children “have gone back to Afghanistan.”
Another organization, the Foundation for Self Reliance, based in Fremont, is sponsoring “Wear a Hijab and Turban Day” on November 13.
“Concerned women of the city have formed a response to the murder of Alia Ansari, and other crimes of violence against the Muslim community,” says the group’s website, http://www.efsr.org. “What we know is this was an act of violence, and possibly an act of hate. It is in the spirit of solidarity that we have planned this day to honor Alia Ansari, and to express our deepest respect for her, and her faith. We would also like to support all other women who wear hijabs or dress differently, and show them that they are not alone.”
By Matthew Rothschild