Unsolved Murder of Afghan Mother Sows Fear in Muslim Community

November 13, 2006

Author: Juliana Barbassa

Source: The Examiner

Wire Service: AP


FREMONT, Calif. - Men and women of various religions covered their heads with scarves, yarmulkes or turbans Monday in solidarity with an Afghan woman who was gunned down while wearing a traditional Muslim veil, an unsolved murder that has sowed fear among immigrants in this Bay Area suburb.

Alia Ansari, a 37-year-old mother of six, was gunned down Oct. 19 in front of her 3-year-old child while walking to pick up her other children from school.

Police are investigating the case as a possible hate crime but they have not determined whether the killer was motivated by the fact that Ansari wore a "hijab" - the traditional head covering worn by Muslim women.

Organizers of Monday's observance called on people throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to cover their heads at work or school to honor and foster comfort with religious or ethnic difference.

In Fremont, home to the nation's largest Afghan community, city officials - some also covering their heads - gathered in a city park in the rain alongside about 100 people of various religions.