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Thu 19 Jun 2014 11:43 AM

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Saudi woman murdered in UK 'targeted for being Muslim'

British police believe a female Saudi student wearing an abaya & headscarf who was stabbed to death on Tuesday may have been targeted for her religion.

Saudi woman murdered in UK 'targeted for being Muslim'
Image for illustrative purposes only.

A female Saudi student murdered on a British street in broad daylight may have been targeted because of her Muslim dress, police reportedly said.

The woman, who was in her early 30s, was wearing a navy blue full-length Abaya and a multi-coloured hijab headscarf when she was attacked at 10.40am on Tuesday, local media reported.

Detective Superintendent Tracy Hawkings said it appeared the woman had been stabbed and she also suffered facial injuries.

She died at the scene in Colchester, 100 kilometres north of London, from head and body injuries.

Hawkings said police were keeping an open mind about the motive of the attack but were investigating whether her religion played a role.

“We are conscious that the dress of the victim will have identified her as likely being a Muslim and this is one of the main lines of the investigation but again there is no firm evidence at this time that she was targeted because of her religion,” she was quoted as saying.

“We have not yet been able to formally identify the victim but we believe we know who she is and specially trained family liaison officers are speaking with her family now.

“A forensic post-mortem is due to be carried out this afternoon to establish the cause of death but at this time it would appear that a knife or other bladed weapon was used in this attack.

“The victim also suffered facial injuries but the cause of these has yet to be established.

“We have no further detail on the murder weapon or weapons at this time but if anyone comes across any suspicious items which they think could be connected to this murder we would ask them to call us.”

The Saudi embassy said its ambassador to the UK was taking an active role in the case.

"Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf expressed in a telephone call on Tuesday to the brother of the deceased his sincerest condolences to her family, affirming the embassy's speed in taking all the procedures for the transfer of the body of the deceased to the kingdom. He also asserted that the case is in his personal attention," the embassy said in a statement quoted by The Guardian.

Police also have asked nearby residents to check their gardens and bins for potential weapons or bloodied clothing, and have called on anyone who was in the vicinity of the area during that morning to contact them.

Sniffer dogs and a helicopter with thermal imaging equipment also are being used in the investigation.

A 52-year-old man from Colchester was arrested on Tuesday night in connection with the incident.

Hawkings said police also were looking at possible links with the murder of a vulnerable man with brain damage who died after being stabbed more than 100 times at a park in the town in March.

“There are some immediate similarities between this murder and that of James Attfield but there are also a large number of differences as well,” she said.

“There is no current known motive for this attack and we are keeping an open mind and exploring all possible avenues of investigation.”

chalky6766 5 years ago

Your header reads 'Saudi woman murdered in UK 'targeted for being Muslim' Yet the UK police are saying 'may' have been targeted!.

I think its a good idea to wait and see here before we start getting the usual ranters turning up!

Bin hamad 5 years ago

Here we go again.In broad daylight?This does not happen even in battlefields.If this happens in Riyadh or jeddah,the british media would have crucified saudi arabia.

Disgusted 5 years ago

More dreadful reporting from Arabian business. The article reads "Saudi women murdered in UK targeted for being Muslim" yet ends with the police being quoted as "There is no current known motive for this attack and we are keeping an open mind and exploring all possible avenues of investigation."

It is unhelpful and scandalous journalism like this that fuels the fire of the fundamentalists and extremists of this World.

This article not only calls into question the legitimacy of the reporting, but also creates a question mark over the motives and political persuasion of the headline makers and journalists at Arabian Business. Shame on you - this is a clear abuse of the media.

Klay 5 years ago

Very tasteful Bin Hamad, you're using this tragic loss to push your own agenda. Shame on you.

leo50 5 years ago

Of course it always helps your cause if you ignore the facts. Murders have been perpetrated against British and other nationalities in broad daylight in Riyadh, Dhahran and Jeddah over the years without calls for crucifixion or other penalties. You should try and stick to the facts.

Red Snappa 5 years ago

An incident, all the more strange as well as tragic, as Colchester is home to a large garrison of British Armed Forces, the 2nd and 3rd Parachute Regiments are stationed there. So security is likely to be high, especially as the International University is also located there.

Very, very sad, but equally possible that the killer is mentally ill with a hatred of women, at 52 years old he may also have been looking for money, but multiple stab wounds as well as facial damage points to the former. A deliberate Muslim target is the third option here, there are just under 3 million Muslims in the UK, almost 5 per cent of the population, so they are relatively common sight.

Although that said, according to Met Police crime statistics published up to March 2014, there has been an increase in racist and religious based crime against Muslims, up by 65.7% on the year-to-date, and of course that covers London alone.

Yet, surveys say Islamophobia is more prevalent among younger Britons?

Liz 5 years ago

I totally agree with Bin hamad. If the situation was reversed, there would have been a campaign launched against Muslims and everyone would go on describing Muslims as terrorists and that Muslim countries are not at all safe for foreigners. In actual, its these type of non Muslims which have hatred among their hearts and go on killing innocent Muslims. Shame on such people. #Britainisnotsafe !

Saudi Engineer 5 years ago

Funny thing you bring up "stick to the facts". When were these murders of Brits and other nationalities in broad daylight in Riyadh etc.? If you're referring to the terrorist attacks of circa 2004 you my friend are the one grossly misstating facts. Those were once again *terrorist attacks* and are far from the norm. You could argue this is also an abnormal attack, but going back to your crucifixion, yes there was actually much worse than crucifixion. Both the internal battles and gunfights in KSA, and the portrayal in the Western media. To this day westerners are afraid of coming to KSA because they think it is a hotbed of terror and any foreigner is automatically going to get killed. Which is very far from the truth. An attack on a Muslim in a western country is a much more common occurrence than an attack on a Westerner in KSA or anywhere else in the Gulf.
You should get your facts straight, and maybe YOU should try to stick to the FACTS.

Doug 5 years ago

@Saudi Engineer - well, I suppose there's the small matter of two guys claiming to be Muslims driving a car at a British person, leaping out the car and beheading him, and then shooting at the police...all in broad daylight. Or did they not report on the murder of Lee Rigby last year in this part of the world?

As for Westerners being afraid of coming to Saudi Arabia, that's probably because you can be arrested for being in possession of a Bible. Also, interestingly, this year the law in Saudi Arabia was modified so that being an atheist is now considered to be the same as either being an apostate or terrorist (ie. a death penalty offence).

None of this excuses this appalling murder and I hope they catch the coward who did it and throw away the key. But let's not pretend that only Westerner commit violent crimes or that Britain is not safe. There are 3 million Muslims in Britain - far more than Westerners in the Gulf, and the majority of them have never had a problem.

Saudi Engineer 5 years ago

Insightful intelligent comment backed up by actual facts. Well said.