World Bulletin / News Desk
A Muslim civil rights group is calling for a federal investigation after an 18-year-old black Muslim was found hanged in the northwestern U.S. state of Washington.
Ben Moussa Keita, who was set to graduate from high school, went missing last November. He was discovered in the woods by passers-by last month in the city of Lake Stevens, where the family lives.
After a weeks-long search effort and no clear answers, the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) local branch is urging the FBI to take over.
"The family really wants answers," Arsalan Bukhari, head of CAIR Washington, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
"They are certainly concerned about whether this was a comprehensive investigation."
Keita went missing on Nov. 26, leaving home without taking his wallet or phone. He was found on Jan. 9 by a group of young people in a wooded area very close to a residential suburban development.
A search and rescue team had combed the same area with K9 operations on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and again with a helicopter search on Dec. 7.
Bukhari said the police, who treat such cases as potential homicide until all possibilities are exhausted, ruled Keita’s death a suicide within three days, which was "limiting".
Father Ibrahima Keita told local reporters his son was a "very young, happy young man" with "no history of depression, anxiety, any psychological break-down at all.”
"He was planning to graduate this year from Lake Stevens High School,” Keita said. “He was already in the Running Start program at Everett Community College and he was dreaming of becoming a medical doctor and work as a medical examiner. Now those dreams are over."
"I think one thing the family told us is that it took them a lot of effort to keep pushing the police to look into things and contact people," Bukhari said.
He said four young people whom Keita worked with at a local McDonald's had not been questioned as of Feb. 21, nearly three months after their former co-worker went missing and weeks after he was found dead.
The family found the approach "alarming," he said.
'Undetermined' cause of death
The head of CAIR Washington related that the police said they were minors and their parents’ permission was needed, but that they didn’t hesitate to interview another Muslim child upon suspicion Keita might have joined a foreign group.
The allegation, which was found to be untrue, and the alleged double treatment were displays of a "common anti-Muslim stereotype", Bukhari said.
"The family believes that with a comprehensive investigation, with every lead and every avenue explored, we can find the reasons for how this all happened," Bukhari added.
After the police ruled the death a suicide, Snohomish County Medical Examiner changed the classification to "undetermined".
The Jan, 26 autopsy report says no alcohol or drugs were found in Keita's body, and it bore no signs of trauma beyond the evidence of hanging.
The death was declared undetermined because the tree branch used in the hanging was nearly 50 feet high, Keita was found in a previously searched area, and he evidently lacked any suicidal tendencies.
In a statement, the FBI announced it was reviewing the case to decide whether it warranted an investigation.
Bissonnette feared Muslims would attack, kill his family
Head of Turkish parliament's Human Rights Committee also called Islamophobia a ‘threat to world peace’
Islamophobia in Europe and the U.S. is being used as a political project by right-wing politicians, says leading scholar
Mehmet Gormez, former head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, also speaks at international conference
‘Islamophobia is no longer is restricted to where there are Muslim minorities’ says Salman Sayyid of the University of Leeds
Imam was attacked after he was on his way back home after leading night prayer at mosque
Mosque belonging to Muslim-Turkish association ATB firebombed in Hessen province
Racist graffiti, swastika symbol have been used to deface walls of Stockholm mosque
Islamophobic hate group had planted crosses on construction site for mosque in eastern Netherlands
Arrests came after women filmed themselves and their children spouting hate speech while breaking into mosque
Islamophobic group planted 23 crosses on mosque site on Saturday
1 day after threat by PYD/PKK sympathizers, Berlin mosque of Turkish community firebombed, latest in string of attacks
At least 950 Muslims and Muslim institutions were attacked in 2017, according to official figures
Report by Citizens' Platform Against Islamophobia says 51 percent of incidents recorded in Catalonia
President Donald Trump's effort to curtail immigration ' unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam', court says