This weekend my town was shaken to its core. We lost one of our very own to a senseless and callous drive-by shooting. Aya Hachem, a 19-year-old aspiring lawyer, was visiting the supermarket in broad daylight when she was shot and killed.

Ms Hachem attended Salford University where she studied Law and had dreams of being a solicitor. When she was a child, she left war-torn Lebanon with her family in the hopes that they could find a safe home. They had been living in Blackburn for a number of years, making Ms Hachem one of us – a Blackburn lass.

Those who know Blackburn, will know that it is a vibrant and close-knit community with people from a number of different backgrounds. It has one of the highest Muslim populations in the UK and a significant number of mosques. Muslims, just like their religious counterparts, belong here and have done since the 18th century.

While Ms Hachem was a Muslim who confidently donned the hijab, Lancashire Police have made it clear that they do not believe she was the intended target and therefore, are not treating the case as terror related. The evidence at this stage indicates that Ms Hachem was an innocent passer-by.

Yet, a number of people have chosen to take to social media and use her killing to peddle their own political agendas. Several unfounded claims have been spread on Twitter which has garnered support from thousands of people around England. There is no evidence to suggest that this was a racially motivated or terror-related act, but it appears that this is what will attract the most likes or retweets.

Ms Hachem’s death is not any less important or valued than it would have been if the attack was racially motivated. Using an innocent girl’s death to fit an agenda or gain an online influence is simply immoral – regardless of any good intent. Her family have lost their daughter and Blackburn has lost one of its own. This is a dark time for our community.

I urge people to take care with what they are posting online. Think before you mindlessly retweet a post. Put your politics aside and be sensitive, the life of an individual has been snatched and the lives she touched will never be the same.

Anybody with any information is asked to get in touch on 101, quoting log number 0412 of May 18th, or anonymously via independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at