Few can ever forget the brutal murder of Nabra Hassanen in the final 10 days of Ramadan 2017. Friends confirmed that Nabra was walking with a group of girls after leaving the ADAMS Center, a mosque in Sterling, VA, after late-night Ramadan prayers when they got into an altercation with a man who got out of his car and assaulted the group with a baseball bat. Nabra was hit, fell behind, and was kidnapped.
Days later, her body was found in a pond, and Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, of Sterling, was charged with her murder. Police reported disturbing details of the 17-year-old’s rape and murder at the hands of Torres, 22, corroborating that an argument had ensued with the group Nabra was with and the suspect had knocked Nabra unconscious, and taken her hostage.
While authorities refused to label this a hate crime, claiming that their investigation “in no way indicates the victim was targeted because of her race or religion,” Nabra’s family and friends remain steadfast that the South Lakes High School sophomore was targeted because her headscarf identified her as Muslim.
According to WUSA9, when asked about the motive behind Nabra’s brutal murder, her father, Mohmud Hassanen, stated simply, “Because she is Muslim. It’s what I believe with all my heart.” Nabra’s mother nodded along in agreement. The community was left shocked and outraged.
This past week, Nabra’s murderer was sentenced to 4 consecutive life sentences. By pleading guilty to the crime, he avoided the death penalty, but is slated to spend the rest of his life behind bars. In a statement to the court, he said, “I’m very sorry for what I did. I took the life of a person who was very loved. I don’t make excuses for what I did. Nothing can justify my crime. I’m willing and I just want to help Nabra Hassanen’s family. I will do everything or anything to help them.”
This sentence or apology seemed to bring her father little comfort. After the sentencing, he claimed, “Everyday, every minute, I never forget her. She loved to help everybody. I miss her. I miss her.”
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement, “We welcome the sentencing of Darwin Martinez-Torres to life in prison without the possibility of parole and hope this sentence brings some measure of comfort and closure to the loved ones of Nabra Hassanen. While this will not end the suffering of the family for losing their loving daughter, I hope it will help begin the healing process.”
Two years after Nabra’s life was taken, justice has finally been served. To reiterate the statement released by CAIR, while this sentencing will not make up for the loss of a vibrant life, perhaps it will offer the closure required to heal.
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon. To Him we belong, and to Him we shall return.