"I think so many of us are scared, so you look for community," she said. "Kids are asking questions, mothers and daughters are being scared. What does this mean for our women, our people?"
A neighbor, contacted by ABC News, said the area where Alawadi lived was very quiet, and neighbors were surprised to find out about the beating. She said that neighbors had not noticed anything out of the ordinary in the days leading up to the attack or on the morning of the beating.
The Center for American Islamic Relations in nearby San Diego said the community has dealt with hate crimes in the past, but not the beating death of a woman in her own home.
Hanif Mohebi, executive director of the center, said that if the murder turned out to be hate crime, he would not be entirely surprised.
"Would it surprise me? That's a very good question. It will not. It's unfortunate, but I have to say this. We do not expect it to be of this nature, beating someone to death, but if it is a hate crime, we have to be pretty honest with ourselves about the reality we're facing."