On Nov. 28, the man who killed 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen on June 18, 2017 pleaded guilty to raping and murdering her on her way back to her community mosque from breakfast early that morning.
The man, Darwin Martinez Torres, admitted to all eight counts in a plea deal that will help him avoid the possibility of the death penalty, BBC said. However, the plea deal will impose a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Although police have repeatedly claimed they have no evidence of it being a hate crime, Hassanen’s family and others close to her are convinced it was, and there’s more evidence from the nature of hate crimes in the U.S. that support Hassanen’s murder being a hate crime than not.
In 2017, hate crimes targeting U.S. Muslims rose 15 percent, according to an advocacy group called the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The group recorded 300 hate crimes in the U.S. targeting Muslims, up from 260 in 2016.
This situation isn’t alleviated by the actions and treatment of Muslim-Americans by Donald Trump. The president has fed the prejudice against Muslims in this country. During his candidacy, he promised “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” During his presidency, Trump signed an executive order banning travelers from Muslim-majority countries and placed restrictions on immigration from Muslim-majority countries.
Our president’s regime is centered around Islamophobic actions and ideals. He uses the term “radical Islamic terror” to incite fear of Muslims in his followers. He does nothing to even speak out against hate crimes against Muslims. In November 2017, he retweeted three tweets perpetuating anti-Muslim propaganda from the leader of a far-right UK political group. Then, when confronted about it, he claimed to know nothing about the political group.
When Hassanen was murdered, Trump reacted with silence. He continued to tweet about the travel ban, an election in Georgia, and about an approval rating poll, but nothing on the Muslim teen’s murder.
Trump’s campaign and election spiked a rise in Islamophobic hate crimes in the U.S., with hate groups nearly tripling from 34 to 101 in 2016 alone. Researchers have attributed this rise to Trump’s campaign and success, saying it pushed extremist hate groups to form.
While Nabra Hassanen’s murderer pleading guilty and facing a life sentence without parole is certainly a victory for the Muslim teen and her family, hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. aren’t going anywhere. We still have a president who energizes Islamophobic behavior and hate crimes, with no sympathy for those affected.
Photo via The Daily Beast