An illegal immigrant allegedly killed a Muslim teenager two weeks ago in an incident The Washington Post is doing its best to spin as a hate crime.
Nabra Hassanen, 17, was murdered on June 18 shortly after leaving a mosque in Sterling, Virginia. Her alleged killer, Darwin A. Martinez Torres, beat her with a baseball bat in what officials have described as a road rage incident. Torres’s illegal immigration status was reported by The Daily Caller the day after Hassanan was murdered, but this has been omitted in several stories by The Post.
The Post published “Pressure grows to classify Muslim girl’s slaying a hate crime” on June 20 in which the paper described Torres, 22, as simply a “construction worker” from Virginia. The article did note that local police found no “evidence that Martinez Torres was motivated to kill Nabra because of her religion.”
The story, however, still quoted the victim’s father, Mohmoud Hassanen, saying that Nabra was killed because she was Muslim. It also featured a bizarre quote from Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who said it is “premature” to classify the killing as a road rage incident. Hooper instead claimed it is safer to say that it was motivated by Hassanen’s religion.
The Post has stuck to this narrative in its coverage of the killing by promoting the idea that Hassanen was murdered by an illegal immigrant from El Salvador because she was a Muslim.
One article about attacks on Muslims during Ramadan said, “Fairfax County police said [Hassanen’s] killing was probably a ‘road rage incident,’ although many Muslims, including her father, believe she was targeted because of her religion.”
That same piece made an effort to tie violence against Muslims to President Trump and mentioned “anti-Muslim rhetoric” during the election. The Post also ran a story from a columnist titled: “Nabra Hassanen’s death may not legally be a hate crime, but it sure feels hateful.”
Hassenen’s alleged killer, Torres, was previously accused of punching, choking, and sexually assaulting a woman who said he was a member of MS-13. This fact was disclosed in a WaPo report, which was followed up by a story
saying the police have not found any connections between Torres and the notorious street gang.
But Washington Post reporter Sharif Hassan did not mention this record in the paper’s most recent story on the killing. In “After killing of Muslim girl near mosque, talk of risks, rights and hijab,” Hassan did not mention Torres’ immigration status, but rather focused on the fear many Muslim women feel about wearing their headscarves.
The only mention of immigration in the article is of a video from May that showed a woman telling a Muslim woman that she wishes “they didn’t let you in the country.”