Death by Islamophobia
Last night around 5pm in Chapel Hill, NC, three Muslim-Americans were shot in the head by a 46-year-old white male in what allegedly started out as a “parking dispute.” However, very little media attention was given to the crime, and only today have major news outlets finally began to talk about it. The victims were husband and wife Deah Barakat, 23, & Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, (who were just recently married), and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, 19.
The newlywed couple had their whole lives ahead of them as you can see from Yusor’s LinkedIn page, which shows that she just recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology and was ready to begin a D.D.S. program at the UNC School of Dentistry in 2015. And Deah’s page shows that he’d graduated a couple years ago from the same school, North Carolina State University. Lastly, judging from Razan’s Twitter and Tumblr accounts, it’s easy to see that she was just a normal teenager, but her and her sister and brother-in-law’s lives were cut short by Islamophobia.
The perpetrator of the crime, Craig Stephen Hicks, was a neighbor of the victims in their apartment complex, and as mentioned before, the whole thing apparently began as a parking dispute from some time ago. As noted by Chris Blue, the Chapel Hill police chief, “Our preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking.” But what’s missing from this is the fact this was definitely a hate crime. I mean just look at his Facebook page. His posts are blatantly athiest and religion-shaming, some of which include hateful posts about Muslims and the Middle East. I mean seriously, do you expect people to believe that a man who shares posts like this (one of which features a quote reading “People say nothing can solve the Middle East problem. Not meditation, not arms, not financial aid. I say there is something. Athiesm.”) and even posted a photo of a loaded .38 caliber he had (which if you look only happened a few weeks ago) shot three clearly Muslim citizens over just a parking dispute?
But the Islamophobia doesn’t end there. As mentioned earlier, it took a suspiciously long time for national news coverage from mainstream media networks to finally get on board and talk about it and even still it’s barely getting talked about. And let’s face it, it’s 2015, we all know how fast the media can spread big news like wildfire and everyone will know about whatever happened almost instantaneously. Do you not see the double standard here? If there’s one thing we can take away from this is that American media seems to believe that a white American shooting Muslims isn’t as big a story as white people getting killed by Muslims So why aren’t these three innocent victims getting the same spotlight that someone like Charlie Hebdo recieved? I mean let’s get real here: we all know that if the races were reversed in this situation it’d be all over the news in seconds.
Many people have taken to social media, namely Twitter, to express their outrage with hashtags such as #muslimlivesmatter and #ChapelHillShooting.
Islamophobia appears to be the #1 form of racism in America–and across the globe too (yeah I’m looking at you France). Is it because something like 9/11 made it acceptable in the public mind to be hateful towards this group of people? Most likely. When the mainstream media reported about it back when it happened, it made every single Middle Eastern seem like “a terrorist,” thus creating nationwide prejudice. And it hasn’t really escaped many people’s minds either. Have you seen what people who defend American Sniper say about the propaganda controversy? In short, the basic definitive argument is that Chris Kyle was “protecting his country”, but what they’re really saying is that the soldiers have to assume every Middle Eastern they see is a terrorist. And since this very popular movie is from the POV of an American soldier with this exact mindset, the subconscious message being delivered by the filmmakers is that all Muslims are the villains and they are sub-human. That’s the message being sent to the millions of people who’ve seen the film. Either way it’s completely disgusting and unacceptable and everyone should be challenging themselves against that mindset, because it’s that hatred that leads things like this to happen.