An event to honor the life of 17-year-old Muslim teen Nabra Hassanen almost a year following her murder will be held Saturday, April 28 at the Reston Community Center.
The event, which will run from 1:30-3:30 p.m., is organized by with Reston community members and the non-profit organization Pious Projects.
During the event, Hassanen’s classmates and teachers will speak and one or two of her friends will sing a song, said Jumana, one of the event’s Pious Projects organizers.
About a year ago, Pious Projects set up an online campaign where the community could raise enough money to build seven wells and a mosque in Hassanen’s name in Mali in Africa.
To honor Hassanen’s life, Pious Projects also made a documentary to commemorate her, which the non-profit will screen at the event.
Jumana, who asked that her last name remain private, said she has found comfort working with Hassanen’s father and helping other families work through similar losses at the Pious Projects.
“I do enjoy basically speaking with the families and trying to guide them through their heartbreak and bring them something positive in the end,” she said..
Two friends of Hassanen, Afnan Abdel and Amina Siddiqui, said they plan to share memories of Hassanen at the event that highlight her personality so more people will know what she was like.
Sibbiqui fondly remembers when she attended a Islamic spring camp with Hassanen and while riding a canoe with Hassanen, she would shake the boat to scare her in a joking way.
“We all just kept joking around with her, and shaking the boat and scaring her and she was just laughing and we were all just having a really fun time,” Sibbiqui said.
Hassanen was a great dancer and danced to lots of silly songs, Siddiqui added. Abdel said she wants to people remember Hassanen as a caring and funny person.
“If you ever felt insecure, she was always there for you to remind you that you’re beautiful,” Siddiqui said. “Even people she doesn’t know.”
Hassanen, a South Lakes High School student, was killed near the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) mosque in Sterling.
Darwin Martinez-Torres, 22, has been charged with capital murder and rape after police say he followed Hassanen and a group of teenagers at 3:40 a.m. Sunday, June 18 after a Ramadan service at ADAMS.
The group split up, but Martinez-Torres returned with a baseball bat, striking Hassanen and taking her in his car. Hassanen’s body was later found that day in a Sterling pond, police said.
While community members have said Hassanen’s death was fueled by a bias against Muslims, police say Martinez-Torres’ rampage was just an extension of his road rage at the time.