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A Muslim Teen Was Kidnapped And Murdered Outside A Virginia Mosque

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Brianna Sacks

Police in Fairfax, Virginia, believe they have found the body of a 17-year-old Muslim girl who was reported missing early Sunday after leaving a mosque with a group of friends.

The teens were walking on Dranesville Road in Sterling towards the Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center at around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday after grabbing breakfast at a nearby town center before beginning their fast at sunrise for Ramadan, police and mosque officials said.

A motorist confronted the group and they got into an altercation, Deputy Aleksandra Kowalski, a spokeswoman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s office, told BuzzFeed News.

According to accounts from police and mosque officials, all of the teens except for one fled the scene. Members from the community found the group and directed them to the ADAMS Center, who immediately notified officials at around 4 a.m., Rizwan Jaka, a board member at ADAMS, said in a statement.

“They all dispersed after the incident and when they met back up they realized she was missing,” Kowalski said.

Shortly after finding the remains Sunday afternoon, officers arrested 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres and charged him with murder in connection to the case.

“We are devastated and heartbroken as our community undergoes and processes this traumatic event. It is a time for us to come together to pray and care for our youth,” ADAMS said in a statement.

People who attend the center identified the missing teen as Nabra — her last name was not given — and said she and her friends were coming back from eating during a break from Ramadan prayers when a car pulled up and two men with baseball bats jumped out and started swinging at the group.

However, police say they are not searching for a second suspect and are confident that only one man was involved, Fairfax police spokeswoman Tawny Wright, told BuzzFeed News.

While it was evident that the teens were Muslim, detectives have “not gotten any indication that this was motivated by hate or bias,” Wright said.

After starting their search at 4 a.m. on Sunday, officers found the remains of a female in a pond in Sterling, Virginia around 3 p.m. Police said they believe the body they found is Nabra, but have not yet confirmed her identity.

“Our detectives are fairly certain that it is her,” Wright said. “But the Chief Medical Examiner still needs to conduct an autopsy to confirm the identity.”

WRC-TV reported that a baseball bat was recovered in the area, but officials would not confirm that statement.

“We have recovered evidence from the area where we believe she was assaulted,” Wright explained. “We will try and release information about the weapon used as we process it.”

Nabra “was a really nice girl” who “always talked with a smile,” said Usman Anwar Khan, who told BuzzFeed News on Facebook Messenger that he worked with Nabra at a McDonald’s in Reston before she went missing.

Muslims across the world are in the final days of celebrating Ramadan, where worshippers pray throughout the day and fast from sunrise-to-sunset. The religious observance ends with a massive feast and celebration, which is supposed to fall next weekend.

Abubakkar Choudry, who has attended prayer service at the center this Ramadan but was not there Saturday night, said the community is “shocked and horrified.”

“This is the first time something has happened like this so close to home,” Choudry told BuzzFeed News, explaining that Nabra and her friends were probably coming back from grabbing food at a nearby IHOP or McDonald’s before attending the next prayer service around 3 a.m.

Choudry explained that Northern Virginia is “very diverse” and that he has “never felt any hate” like this.

“The Muslim community is huge here and mosques are everywhere.”

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Crime

Southall shooting: Man charged with murder of Khalid Abdi Farah

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Detectives investigating the shooting of 26-year-old Khalid Farah in Southall have charged a 21-year-old man.

Malique Thompson-Hill was charged with murder on Sunday (December 3), the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Mr Farah was fatally shot in the chest while he was sat in a Ford Focus car in Lady Margaret Road on November 11.

London Ambulance Service attended the scene and the victim was taken to a central London hospital where he died at 3.32am.

Following his death, Crimestoppers announced a reward of up to £10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

In a statement, his family said: “Khalid was such an amazing son, brother and nephew.

“We can’t stress enough how distraught we are that our beautiful boy was taken away from us.”

The family statement added: “He was a kind and lovable soul who made an impression with everyone he would meet.”

Mr Thompson-Hill was due to appear at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

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Somali man found guilty in kidnapping of Canadian journalist

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FILE PHOTO: Somali national Ali Omar Ader arrested for 2008 hostage-taking in Somalia of two freelance journalists, Canadian Amanda Lindhout and Australian Nigel Brennan, is seen in an undated photo from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Courtesy RCMP/Handout via REUTERS

REUTERS — A Somali national has been convicted in an Ontario court for his role in the 2008 kidnapping of Canadian Amanda Lindhout, who was held captive in Somalia for 460 days and released only after her family paid a ransom, Canadian media reported on Wednesday.
Ali Omar Ader, 40, was found guilty of one charge of hostage-taking for his role as negotiator for the kidnappers, in a decision handed down on Wednesday in Ontario Superior Court in Ottawa.

Lindhout, a freelance journalist, was taken hostage in Somalia on Aug. 23, 2008, along with Australian photographer Nigel Brennan, while working on a story. They were released for ransom in November 2009.

Ader was lured to Canada from Somalia in 2015 and arrested in Ottawa as part of a sting operation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in which an officer posed as a publisher interested in a book Ader was writing on Somalia, according to court documents.

Prosecutors argued that Ader had been the main spokesman for the hostage-takers, negotiating first with Lindhout’s mother and later with a private consultant hired by the families of Lindhout and Brennan.
According to court documents, he referred to himself as “a commander” and repeatedly threatened that the hostages would be harmed or killed unless the ransom was paid.

During his trial, Ader said that he too had been kidnapped by the group holding Lindhout captive, and was forced to act as their spokesman, as he spoke some English.

In his ruling, Justice Robert Smith said Ader’s claims were “completely unbelievable,” numerous Canadian media outlets reported. Reuters has not read the ruling.

Ader faces up to life in prison. Sentencing in the case is not expected until next year.

Lindhout has said she was repeatedly sexually and physically assaulted during her captivity, and both she and Brennan have said they were tortured and starved.

In 2013, Lindhout recounted her experience in the book “A House in the Sky.”

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Crime

Father beaten to death with chair as fight breaks out over snooker table in north London cafe

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A father was beaten to death with a chair when a fight broke out over the snooker table in a high street cafe.

Police launched a murder inquiry after Mohamed Hersi, 40, died in hospital following the attack in Bethel Cafe, Finsbury Park.

Mr Hersi, who recently left his job at a central London hotel to care for his elderly father, was set upon when he complained about players jumping the queue for the table.

He was rushed to hospital with critical injuries at 10pm on Tuesday. He died yesterday with his wife and their four children, aged five to 11, at his bedside.

His wife Barlin Ali, 36, told the Standard: “He was the best husband and father you could ask for.”
It is understood that Mr Hersi, who had been working as a hotel kitchen porter, was drinking tea and playing snooker in the cafe when the row broke out.

He was struck with the metal chair, fell to the floor and hit his head, his family said.

Mrs Ali said: “It is vitally important that anyone who saw what happened comes forward because the person who did this should not be on the streets.

“No other family should suffer this. Please come forward if you know anything and speak to police. We want justice for Mohamed because I have lost such a loving man.”

Mr Hersi’s sister-in-law Mariam Ali, 37, said: “Mohamed was a peaceful man. He would always say to us to not worry and ‘enjoy the moment’.
“Those were his favourite words. He was a lovely person and a good father. He was so happy around his children.”

“He was working at a grand hotel in central London until a few months ago when he had to stop work to look after his father.

“We just know he was drinking tea in the cafe on Tuesday night. We got a phone call saying Mohamed was on the floor. My sister ran to the cafe but the police were already there and took us to hospital. Doctors said he would not survive.”

The cafe in Seven Sisters Road was cordoned off. A worker at a nearby internet cafe said: “He was playing snooker. There’s only a small table there, it was full of people. A guy came in and was trying to jump the queue. Then there was an argument.”

The Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command is investigating. No arrests have been made. Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 020 8345 3865 or via 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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