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Tribute to Alia Ansari

October 31, 2006

It is with the deepest sorrow that I write this post.  I read through the newspaper clippings and Zaytuna’s memorial to Alia, my chest tightens, my eyes water and at the pit of my stomach is a knot. 

I have never met her but I now know her.  I had to come to know her through her senseless death.  A death that took a mother away from her 6 children, a wife from her husband, a sister from her siblings, a daughter from her mother, a pious woman from her community.

Within her I can see my sister’s devotion to her children.  I can see my mother’s love for Allah.  I can see my best friend’s selflessness.  She could have been any one of us.

I don’t wear a hijab, except for covering my hair when entering the mosque, but on November 13, 2006 I will wear hijab in memory of Alia Ansari:

Help us spread the word…
Fremont, CA is one of the most diverse cities in America. Concerned women of the city have formed a response to the murder of Alia Ansari, and other crimes of violence against the Muslim community.

What we know is this was an act of violence, and possibly an act of hate. It is in the spirit of solidarity that we have planned this day to honor Alia Ansari, and to express our deepest respect for her, and her faith.

We would also like to support all other women who wear hijabs or dress differently, and show them that they are not alone. We are continuously working toward making Fremont a safe home for all.

– a loose, long sleeve shirt that covers the wrists

– loose, long pants or skirt that cover the ankles
– a loose, large scarf, or shawl that covers the head, the neck, and the shoulders

What is a hijab?

Guidelines for how to dress according to Islamic dress code

Also, there is a trust fund that has been set up to support support Alia’s husband and thier six children. Deposits can be made into account No. 55041477 at any Fremont Bank location.

or you may mail your checks to:
Fremont Bank
39150 Fremont Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94538
Phone: (510) 505-5226
Fax: (510) 795-5758
Please write the trust account number on the check.

Thank you Irving for calling my attention to this last week.

To get to know this woman like I did, please visit here.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2006 8:18 pm

    Thank you, Dear Sister, for spreading the word about Hijab Day, and about the Trust Fund set up for her family. The more blogs that pick it up and spread the word, the better chance that communities of all faiths come together in peace and respect for each other. Inshallah, such a sad death will open many hearts.

    Ya Haqq!

  2. November 2, 2006 4:52 am

    Thank you Samaha, for this information. Of course, in little Lebanon, Missouri, where I live, there has been not one word mentioned about this hate crime. I think I may participate in this rememberance.

    I have been reading your blog, and thinking about it a lot. I am not a Moslem. I am not a Christian. I am a member of a very minor group of spiritual people, a free thinker. I believe in a Higher Power, call it what you will. I believe that this Higher Power has sent us many messengers over the millenia, all beautiful souls with much wisdom to impart to us.

    I am worried about “fundamentalism” as a movement in all religions. What I see is that fundamentalism seems to be synonymous with repression.

    Another thing that bothers me is the willingness of people to limit their God. “Look at us!” they scream. “We have The Way, and the only right Way, to worship God. Everybody else is wrong.”

    Sorry, kids. God is infinite. God the All-knowing. God the Compassionate. God the All-Forgiving. How arrogant to limit God to being worshipped only one way. An Infinite Omniscient deity is capable of understanding all acts of worship. When I canoe on the river and pick up every piece of trash I see, I know that God sees this as I mean it, as a tribute to Him and His creation, and as an act of worship.

    What bothers me the most as I read and think and walk around my predominantly lily white Baptist community, is the prevalence of news and opinion being put out by the people in authority and the media. It all seems designed to make people distrust and fear and hate all things, thoughts and people different from them.

    And I want to tell the people who hate and fear Islam,who call out pejorative names for every faith that is different from them, to come to Samaha’s blog. Read what she has to say. Is this beautiful, gentle, thoughtful person someone to hate and fear?

    Blessed Be, Samaha.

  3. Sayeeda Shameem permalink
    November 7, 2006 5:27 pm

    Assalam alaikum,

    Yes, I will wear a hijab that day, eventhough I am wearing everyday.

    Sayeeda Shameem

  4. David permalink
    November 11, 2006 6:17 am

    What a silly event given the fact that nobody has even been named as a suspect in this murder.

    No evidence to prove it’s a hate crime because she wore a hijab.

    No evidence to prove it wasn’t a murder within the family, either.

    I understand your hearts may be in the right place, but how goofy would it be to be participating in Wear A Hijab Day if Alia Ansari was killed by a fellow Muslim–just as there’s no evidence this wasn’t a hate crime, there’s no evidence it is one either. . .

  5. November 12, 2006 9:06 pm

    How goofy would it be?

    I don’t know where your heart is at, but wearing a hijab in honor of a woman who was such a wonderful person and so loved by her family regardless of who killed her or why he killed her is not goofy.

    God, I love anonymous commentors.

    Anyway, the point of wear a hijab day was not even only for Alia Ansari, it was about standing in solidarity with the Muslim community for the difficulties that they endure.

    It’s not easy being a Muslim that wears hijab. While I do not wear one, I used to wear one while dropping off my child to Muslim school. I wore it for the wrong reason and decided that I would no longer do so.

    However, while I did wear hijab – I was cut off, flicked off, people would rush in front of you to brake as hard as they could and flick you off. I can’t tell you how often I was harrassed.

    Not to mention when a truck nearly ran me off the road because my pre-teen daugher was wearing hijab.

  6. David permalink
    November 13, 2006 12:49 am

    You know, people get flipped off, strange looks, etc., etc., everyday. Some of them wear hijabs, some of them do not. That’s just the way life is. You’re not alone.

    The problem with Wear A Hijab Day is it can be translated to Let’s Wear An Article Of Another Religion on the assumption that Alia Ansari was killed because she was a muslim. Therefore, furthering an Islamist agenda of perpetually persecuted muslims in a “post 9-11” world. This is a growing racket, and there’s a good number of people the world over that are starting to see through this con game.

    The way this looks on paper is preposterous. I think there’s more evidence to indicate her husband may have had her killed–honor killing, perhaps–I’m sure you’re familiar with that term.

    1) Killer is described as Latino or Black man (I would argue he might have been Middle Eastern as well, especially in that community)

    2) Killer GOT OUT OF CAR and approached Ansari before shooting her. Sounds like somebody not just out to get any muslim wearing a hijab–but a SPECIFIC MUSLIM WOMAN.

    3) Four years ago, there was a similar shooting in the SAME FAMILY over a “SPURNED ROMANCE”

    4) Alia’s husband took off with the children to Afghanistan following the funeral, citing “economic hardship”–are we to believe that owning your own mechanics shop in a Western country puts you at an economic disadvantage compared to war-torn Afghanistan?

    There, you’ve got four indicators pointing towards a husband or a possible hit man and the only thing that points toward “hate crime” is the bigoted assumption that the rest of America is out to get Muslims.

    And that’s a big lie–and here are some reasons why:

    1) If the president of the United States says in the days following 9-11 that “Islam is a religion of peace”; things can’t be that bad for muslims.

    2) If the president gives a nice syrupy speech about the Ramadan holiday at a White House dinner–(which he did last month)–things can’t be that bad for muslims.

    3) If the mainstream media is going to help push the hate crime agenda as they have been doing despite the fact that police officers still admit they haven’t named a suspect–things can’t be that bad for muslims.

    4) According to the recent FBI reports, Jews still outnumber muslims 7 to 1 in religious hate crimes (the grand verified total of religiously inspired hate crimes in this country being a little over 1,100 for the year. Now, take that number of 1,100, take 11 percent of that (supposedly the number of anti-muslim hate crimes) and then compare that number to 300,000,000–the population of the United States. The difference should make it easy to see that this is a pretty tolerant country.

    So yes, in light of the facts, Wear A Hijab Day reeks of a good deal of ethnic opportunism.

    What I would like to see happen within the muslim community–and I can make suggestions since I don’t ascribe to the notion that those of a different culture cannot comment on another–is a much-needed reformation and assimilation within the larger secular society. More decrying of muslim atrocities and less jumping the gun when it comes to unsubstantiated claims of Western intolerance–a la Wear A Hijab Day.

    Look deeply at the fundamentalist Islamic view on homosexuals, women, Jews, the West–and I hope you’ll see that the onus of intolerance belongs somewhere else.

    And, yes, these comments are anonymous because just like the term “honor killing”, I also know what “fatwa” and “jihad” mean.

  7. November 13, 2006 1:15 am

    Nearly being run off the road by a truck is not merely being “flipped off”.

    Unresponsible, un-pc is becoming apparent not only online, but in real life.

    If Alia Ansari was an orthodox-Jewish woman who was killed in the same manner and the non-Jewish community took up a wear a scarf day in honor of that woman – I would do the same. I would dress in habit in support of a nun if the situation were the same.

    A non-muslim group of women took it upon themselves to stand in solidarity with Muslims in understanding of the hardships that they face. This is not ethnic opportunism.

    Look deeply into this blog and into my comments at other sites and you will see that I do not make excuses where excuses should not be made, nor do any of the Muslims on my blogroll.

    Now, David, go educate yourself a bit. Go take a look at Daniel Pipes, Jihad Watch, Little Green Footballs and tell me how it can’t be that bad for Muslims.

    Then, go take a look at my blog and my blogroll and tell me how Muslims don’t speak out.

    If anyone needs to be worried about “fatwa” and “jihad” it is me and while I am semi-anonymous, I have forwarded a link of this blog to all my Muslim friends and let them know it is me.

    When I said anonymous I meant that I can’t go see your blog. Would love to see your views on life.

  8. November 13, 2006 1:28 am

    One more thing – as I search the internet, I can’t find one article that states that her husband moved to afganistan (and sorry, but I think that when you have six children and the mother passes away that you may become overwhelmed with having to take on babysitting services even if you are a mechanic)

    Could you please provide a link.

  9. November 18, 2006 10:13 pm

    I, like Dave, was distressed over the almost immediate acceptance by the media that the Ansari murder was a hate crime. I appreciate Dave’s perspective. It was a refreshing voice of reason. But I also applaud the fact that you printed his letter, and your demonstrated balance encourages me to study your blogroll.

    To verify Ansari’s husbands flight to Afghanistan, contact Lisa Fernandez of the Mercury News. Her article, dated Nov 3, 2006, is titled “Muslim civil rights group to hold forum on shooting.” To take off in the middle of an investigation so soon after the murder is a troubling thing to mull over.

    With minimal training in domestic violence, I know from statistics that the most likely murder of Alia was someone who knew her/her husband. I cannot find anything that has ruled out her husband so far. I also read between the newsprint lines. Don’t forget the Afghan elders really did not want the involvement of Islamic political groups, and only after much consultation and compromise did they agree to let them attend the funeral.

    I am a minority female who has travelled extensively, and I’ll never forget the day I was attacked by a muslim male in a Paris neighborhood while I was walking with my hijab-wearing Turkish friend. She translated that I was attacked because she shouldn’t have been walking with a non-muslim, non-veiled woman. This was twenty years ago, and I understand the situation is much worse today in Paris. More women have been killed/beaten/ostracized for NOT wearing the hijab than for wearing the hijab, and many women who wear the hijab do so to protect themselves from other muslims. Personally, I think hijabs can look pretty cool at best and at worst, an unpleasant reminder of some grouchy catholic nuns, but I cannot so far disassociate the veil from the symbols of past and current oppression, so I will not participate in wear-a-hijab day. Also, I do not like the hypocrisy of some of my muslim friends who say they wear the veil “out of modesty.” These women are wearing Gucci veils and wear heavy eye make up. Others wear it out of pride, to “make a statement.” Pride is a good reason, but it’s quite different from modesty.

  10. November 19, 2006 7:47 pm


    As I have allready said to David the issue is beyond Alia Ansari, the day was meant for standing in solidarity with challenges that Muslims face in America.

    Your comment is after the fact of the day.

    I myslef do not wear hijab or a veil or a scarf. You can look at my post titled Let my heart be my veil for my views on the scarf. I don’t believe in wearing it in cases of pride and identity either.

    Still, for those who have conviction that this is something that they do for Allah, I can respect that and I can respect and relate with the difficulties that they face. Somewhere I have also posted on things that I have come accross while wearing the scarf on my way to take my child to school.

    This blog as of now is open to all respectful posts. However, like my home, I reserve the right as to what is brought into it.

    If at anypoint I feel that comments have gone beyond reasonable debate and resort to insult or harrasment, I will most likely delete them. I may also leave them be to make my point. So far, no comments have been deleted.

    I will look into the Mercury News article later during the day and possibly make a post on the subject, as I have posted information to her trust fund and people do have a right to know that her husband has left the country. I do want to point out that they do have a person of interest in custody at least they were still holding him in early November.

    I’ll post again later in regards to the subject after reading your articles.

  11. August 14, 2007 1:48 pm

    Muslims face challenges everyday not only in the US but in the UK too and many other parts of the worl. The hijab should be respected and people should be allowed to wear the hijab as it is their right to do so. It is not oppression but freedom.

  12. September 13, 2007 7:53 pm

    I agree the hijab is a basic right of every human just like anoy other form of dressing


  1. I Appreciate You « Samaha
  2. The Humanist « Samaha
  3. The Inspiration Behind the Cause: Alia Ansari « Samaha

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