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Aya Hachem: Uproar as some plan to withdraw fundraisers based on sectarian differences

Muslims on social media have been outraged as some people withdrew donations for Aya Hachem who was shot dead, after discovering her family were Shia Muslims.

On the 18th May 2020, 19-year-old Aya Hachem was tragically shot dead on her way to get groceries from her local Lidl supermarket in Blackburn. The Muslim community has been mourning the death of Aya, a law student, who has been described as “truly remarkable”.

Three suspects have been arrested in the murder and currently, it is believed that she was not the intended target of the attack, nor was there any racial or Islamophobic agenda behind the murder.

Across social media, there has been an outpouring of shock and sympathy for the family, from the Muslim community, since her death and several fundraisers had been set up in her memory.

It is alleged that upon realising her family are from a Shia Muslim background, one individual who had set up a fundraiser in Aya’s name had a change of heart. Many have taken issue with his series of now-deleted tweets, which can be seen below:

The Twitter user has since deleted these tweets.

Another fundraising page for Aya started by Hannan Qazi on Justgiving has been frozen by the platform after raising over £30,000 for the building of a mosque in Niger. An exchange between Hannan and another Twitter user alleges that he “liked” a Tweet which suggested that they should avoid giving funds directly to the family “in case it’s a Rafidi/Shia place of worship”:

Hannan clarified his stance in subsequent tweets:

Aya came to the UK with her family as refugees from Lebanon when she was a girl, but the interactions today over Twitter have shocked many. Muslims, both Shia and Sunni have spoken out against the sectarian mindset that is sadly still rife in some small parts of the community.

Three have been arrested in suspicion of Aya’s murder. Our thoughts are with her family during this difficult time. We pray that Allah guides our community and that we can stand united against sectarianism.

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