Buffalo’s Muslim community already had its share of these kinds of stories. There were suspicions after the Sept. 11 attacks and then a year later six young Muslims from Lackawanna, a community just outside of Buffalo, were arrested for being America’s first sleeper cell. Eventually they pleaded guilty to training at an al-Qaida camp. The young men never planned anything against the United States, but against the post-Sept. 11 backdrop, stereotyping became easy. Just as they were seen as terrorists, the murder of Aasiya Hassan was seen as an honor killing.
Remla Parthasarathy, an instructor at the Women, Children, and Social Justice Clinic at University at Buffalo Law School, says the Hassan murder was a clear-cut case of domestic abuse.
“Honor killings are something that is sanctioned and approved by the extended family, that wasn’t the case here,” she said. “Religious leaders in the Muslim community came out and denounced it and they said it wasn’t an honor killing and I respect that.”
In fact, no one could recall ever seeing Mo Hassan at the mosque.