‘An angel was taken’: Faiths unite, reflect on Va. teen’s slaying

RESTON, Va. — Leaders from the Muslim and Jewish faiths came together Tuesday in Reston, Virginia, to discuss Sunday’s murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen.

She was among a group of teens who were walking and biking to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque, or ADAMS Center, when Fairfax County police say there was an argument with a driver, who then got out of his car with a baseball bat and chased them.

Police said that Hassanen was assaulted twice and abducted, and that her body was left in a Loudoun County pond.

The man charged with her murder, 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres, appears to have been motivated by road rage, investigators said — not religious hate.

At Tuesday evening’s event, Hassanen’s father, Mohmoud, stood with Imam Mohamed Magid of the ADAMS Center, who has been counseling the family.

Imam Mohamed Magid (left) of the ADAMS Center discussed the slaying of Nabra Hassanen Tuesday evening along with Mohmoud Hassanen, her father. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
This undated image provided by the Hassanen family shows Nabra Hassanen in Fairfax, Va. Police in Fairfax, Va., said Monday, June 19, 2017, that "road rage" was to blame for the slaying of a 17-year-old muslim girl who was walking with friends to her mosque between Ramadan prayers this weekend. Police have not identified Hassanen, but her father confirmed she was the victim in Sunday's attack. (Courtesy Hassanen Family via AP)
This undated image provided by the Hassanen family shows Nabra Hassanen in Fairfax County, Virginia. Police in Fairfax County said Monday, June 19, 2017, that “road rage” was to blame for the slaying of a 17-year-old Muslim girl who was walking with friends to her mosque between Ramadan prayers this weekend. (Courtesy Hassanen Family via AP) (Courtesy Hassanen Family via AP)
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This undated image provided by the Hassanen family shows Nabra Hassanen in Fairfax, Va. Police in Fairfax, Va., said Monday, June 19, 2017, that "road rage" was to blame for the slaying of a 17-year-old muslim girl who was walking with friends to her mosque between Ramadan prayers this weekend. Police have not identified Hassanen, but her father confirmed she was the victim in Sunday's attack. (Courtesy Hassanen Family via AP)

“We are all in shock. We are all in pain. We are all missing her,” Magid said.

“An angel was taken,” said Chaplain Joshua Salaam of the ADAMS Center.

Young people who knew her have told Salaam that Hassanen always gave them good advice, he said. And now, in her memory, they promise to follow it.

“She always told them to give to people in need, even if it’s your last dollar. She always told the youth to be the best that you can be, even if you don’t think you’re that good. She taught the youth to befriend people who other people don’t like; make sure that you’re their friend.”

Rabbi Michael Holzman of the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation was among those who attended and spoke.

“In Judaism, we learn that to save a life is to save an entire universe and to lose a life is to lose an entire universe. And clearly, in this case, Nabra took with her a whole universe of teaching.”


Holzman’s congregation is dedicated to supporting Hassanen’s family and the ADAMS Center, he said, and it will take part in a vigil Wednesday night for Hassanen.

Leaders from the ADAMS Center met with Fairfax County police Chief Ed Roessler about the murder case and said they are keeping in close contact with investigators.

“They are leaving no stone unturned to find out what was the motive: Was it hate? … Was it road rage? And we trust that,” said Salaam.

“They have given us complete confidence that as soon as they find any evidence, any information leading to a hate crime or anything else, they are going to bring it to the table and investigate accordingly and proceed accordingly,” he said.

The All Dulles Area Muslim Society, announced plans to hold her funeral Wednesday afternoon, with a private burial to follow.


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