News and Commentary

Michigan Mother Killed Amid ‘Americanization’ Concerns From Syrian Husband

Authorities in Michigan charged a 16-year-old for allegedly murdering his mother after an investigation revealed a conflict between the two which stemmed in part from the mother’s deviation from her Syrian and Islamic roots.

Nada Huranieh, 35, died on August 21 from injuries she sustained from falling out of a second-floor window in her Farmington Hills, Michigan home, The Detroit News reported.

Authorities initially said the death was accidental, but after further investigation, they charged her son, 16-year-old Muhammad Altantawi, as an adult with second-murder.

Huranieh and her husband, Bassel Altantawi, 46, married in Syria 18 years ago and had three children – they were also in the midst of a messy divorce with depositions set to begin the week she was killed.

Altantawi, who allegedly violated court orders several times to meet with his son, expressed concerns that his three kids were “Americanized” by his wife “in contrast to their Syrian and Islamic roots.”

“One of Huranieh’s ex-attorneys, Carolyn Markowitz, said the son expressed anger toward his mother and frequently slipped away to meet his father, who was ordered out of their Farmington Hills home following an incident in which he was accused of throwing his wife down a flight of stairs on Valentine’s Day in 2016,” The Detroit News added.

Markowitz said in the following months following the attack that the son, Muhammad, began growing apart from his mother and started running away to see his father.

“He always returned home but was more like his father, a traditional Muslim,” Markowitz said. “But he was very much like his father, didn’t believe in living the American culture. His father even had him working for him against her in the home, taking photographs of things, like items his mother had bought. Like a spy.”

Altantawi, a physician, has been dealing with other legal problems lately. In March 2017, he pleaded guilty to four felony fraud charges and was ordered to pay over $275,000 in restitution and had his physician’s license suspended.

A petition recently filed in court indicates that the police who are investigating Huranieh’s death are in the process of determining “whether other individuals are involved.”