Tarek Ali Ahmad
LONDON: The murder of Lebanese student Aya Hachem in a drive-by shooting in the UK on Sunday has shocked her compatriots worldwide.
“Honestly, it hit really close to home,” Gabreille Antar, a student at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, told Arab News. “A Lebanese student my age died walking to the supermarket. It’s worrisome.”
Hachem, 19, succumbed to her wounds after she was shot from a car in Blackburn, Lancashire, outside a supermarket in broad daylight.
Authorities believe that the law student was not the intended target, and have appealed to the public for help with the investigation.
Kuwait-based Lebanese illustrator Nour Flayhan created a memorial illustration in Hachem’s name.
The artwork, which was uploaded onto Flayhan’s Instagram page, has garnered over 8,000 likes.
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Aya Hashem was a 19 year old Lebanese- British law student who was shot down as she was crossing the street on a shopping trip this Sunday in Blackburn UK (may or may not be a racist hate crime) The UK Muslim community raised money for her family & sympathized with her. Shortly later, some members from the Sunni community found out she was Shia and asked for a refund on their donations, ending their fundraising. The divide in the Muslim community is shocking to witness at times like this when all should be standing together. RIP. #nourieillustrations #justiceforaya #ayahashem
“I wanted to honour her death as a Lebanese young woman who had a bright future ahead of her,” Flayhan told Arab News.
According to Hachem’s family, her body will be flown to Lebanon on Saturday, with the burial taking place the same day.
“Regardless of whether Aya was the intended target or not, justice needs to be served for her and her family,” pharmaceutical saleswoman Nour Safieddine told Arab News.
“Such a brutal, inhumane act is unacceptable and unbearable. Extremely sad news. My heart goes out to all her loved ones. May God be with them.”
Police have arrested 11 people as part of the investigation into the killing, eight of whom are suspected of Hachem’s murder.
Lancashire Police said in a statement: “Detectives are aware of a number of videos circulating across social media and are asking people to report them to the police. We would also ask people not to share these videos out of respect for Aya and her family.”
Detective Chief Constable Terry Woods said his officers would “not be going away until we’ve got justice for Aya and her family,” adding that “it’s now time for the criminal fraternity to come forward.”