Content warning: This post discusses domestic violence, parent/child violence, femicide, and murder. If you or someone you know may be in an abusive relationship, ensure you’re in a safe place and call 1.800.799.7233 or chat with someone at the National Domestic Violence Hotline online. They are available 24/7, 365 to help. If you’re in immediate danger, please call 911.
Ola Salem was a fierce advocate for Muslim women, who had suffered from domestic violence herself. Ola volunteered for the New York City-based Asiyah Women’s Center. She is remembered by family and friends as having a strong personality, being fearless, and being stronger than some men.
Last year, Ola was killed. On October 24, 2019, her body was found by a jogger in Staten Island’s Bloomingdale Park fully clothed. Police said the body appeared to have been dragged through the woods and then partially covered in leaves. In a recent release, police say that Ola died of strangulation.
At the time, people thought it may have been her husband, who Ola had a restraining order against. Her husband also had an order of protection filed against her. It was evident that there was trouble in the marriage. Ola had moved out and lived with her family. At one point during her marriage, she had sought refuge in the shelter she volunteered with. It would appear that maybe her husband killed her, but recent events proved otherwise. Ola’s father, Kabary Salem, who is a former Olympic boxer, known as the “The Egyptian Magician,” was just indicted and arrested for her murder.
Kabary Salem became well-known in the boxing world after his opponent died from head trauma just a few days after he faced Kabary in the ring.
According to police, after the discovery of Ola’s body, Salem told investigators he couldn’t believe that someone would kill his daughter, and that he needed answers. He also told investigators and media outlets that she had told him someone would always follow her. It is apparent now that Salem tried to deter police from suspecting him. The NYPD Regional Task Force tracked him to the Middle East. After the discovery of his daughter’s body, Kabary fled the country. Thankfully, we have laws in this country, and officers who are diligent in tracking down criminals, especially those accused of murder. We thank you, NYPD!
Violence against women touches all communities. This story first made headlines last year. In all honesty, I didn’t there would be a follow up. As I read the news today I can say I am wholeheartedly grateful that this young lady who had a passion for helping others in bad situations, no matter what she was going through, is hopefully going to get justice. We must remember any of us could easily become Ola. It could be our story that others are reading. We must ensure that these acts of violence will not go unnoticed. We must continue the fight for justice. Ola was a beautiful young girl who lost her life too early at yet again the hands of a man. When will these men learn that we will not stand by and allow this patriarchal society to control our lives and our souls? This case was an example of good police work; I will say that without a doubt had the police not been serious in finding this poor girl’s killer that he would have gone free.
Please remember Ola, and what she stood for. She was the sister that would have fought for you if you needed her; it’s our turn to carry on her legacy taking a stand against the violence women face.
May Ola rest in peace and may Allah grant her an abode in the highest of Jannah, and may justice be served for her father.
Help is available. If you or someone you know may be in an abusive relationship, ensure you’re in a safe place and call 1.800.799.7233 or chat with someone at the National Domestic Violence Hotline online. They are available 24/7, 365 to help. If you’re in immediate danger, please call 911.