SPOKANE, Wash. - Former Department of Social and Health Services translator Arwa Burke spent years working within the Spokane Iraqi community and is raising alarm after the death of Ibhihal Darraji allegedly at the hands of her immigrant ex-husband Yasir Darraji.
"I saw her before divorce and when she was going through the divorce," Burke told KHQ.
Burke knew the Darraji family from spending years translating for them at school, doctor appointments and the court room during their divorce and custody battle.
"She just wanted to fix the problem in a peaceful way," Burke said. "You could see on his face that he wished he could hurt her physically. But he was afraid because here is not Iraq."
Ibhihal’s body was found burning in a car on the South Hill last Thursday with the cause of death listed as strangulation.
Yasir was arrested and charged with murder. He faced a judge for the first time on Monday and emotions ran high with friends screaming as they left the courtroom.
Burke believes Ibhihal’s murder was an honor killing, which is approved in the culture that Burke and other Iraqi's in the Spokane community come from.
"They need to remember that once you decided to come to America you either accept this culture and adjust with it. You don’t like it, go somewhere with the culture you like," Burke said.
Burke is pleading for the judge and court to stand with Ibhihal to show Islamic men that honor killings will not be tolerated in the United States.
"This is a message for the Iraqi, Arabic, Muslim people that come to this country. If you came to this country to have a batter life please learn how to have it. Be open to learn how to adjust yourself to this new culture," Burke said.