The husband and daughters of an Iraqi woman beaten to death in her El Cajon home said their final goodbyes on Friday in their native Iraq.
The burial of Shaima Alawadi, took place in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. The family arrived on a plane sent by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Associated Press reported.
Shaima's son, Ali Alawadi, stayed behind for a candlelight vigil at the Town Center Community Park in Santee. Members of the Iraqi community joined for a sunset prayer and grieved the loss of the Iraqi-born mother of five.
Shaima was discovered on the floor of her family’s El Cajon home on March 21 with a threatening note by her side. She was removed from life support three days later.
Police have not yet called it a hate crime, and are awaiting more evidence.
However on Friday night, the message throughout the Iraqi community was clear.
"We are a part of the fabric of America," said one supporter at the sunset prayer. "And we seek peace and we seek justice."
Ali spoke briefly at the gathering, thanking his community for their continued support.
"I just want to say thank you for honoring my mother," he said. "It means a lot. It gives us more confidence I just wanted to say thank you because it's helping me a lot."