Sit down America, it’s time to talk

For those of you who aren’t aware, 3 Muslims were murdered in their own home. The names of the victims are 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. These 3 college students were literally murdered in their own home in cold blood by their neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks.

As a Muslim, I was horrified to hear this tragedy. However, I didn’t see it on news; once it caught fire on social media it forced the mainstream media to finally cover the terrorist attack. After the Charlie Hebdo attack in France, there seems to be an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric against Muslims.

Among those who openly speak on the matter, Judge Jeanine Pirro started her fiery news segment with an exclamation “We need to kill them, we need to kill them!” Some might say that she explicitly directed that towards “islamist” or “radical” Muslims but what’s the difference when the message they chant louder and louder is that of hatred and calling for their perverse version of justice? It matters not if they clarify the type of Muslims they want dead, the fact is that divisive and hateful speech like this only adds to the fire and further builds the tension between Americans and their Muslim counterparts.

The fact remains that Muslims are in danger from people like Hicks who won’t think twice about murdering a family in their home. His lawyer has already started the convenient mental health issue claim. Don’t get me wrong, as a psychology major, I am the first to advocate for better mental health in this country. A conversation about mental health is necessary and long overdue but why is it that it only happens when a white man kills  people? There have been countless cases where this is true. Think Aurora, Newton Connecticut, Columbine, and Tuscon. I could go on and on but I think you get the point. Mental health is only discussed when it is needed by a defense team and then forgotten about before necessary change can actually take place.

The father of one of the victims believed the murders to be a hate crime as quoted ““It was execution style, a bullet in every head,” Abu-Salha said Wednesday morning. “This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime. This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt. And they were uncomfortable with him, but they did not know he would go this far”. Hick’s wife obviously believes her husband and thinks that a man could just kill 3 people over a parking spot.

Something else that irks me besides the media coverage and sudden sensitivity of the term hate crime is the treatment by the media of the victims. Their social media accounts and posts have been paraded around like some spectacle by all parties. This is a dangerous thing to do. It’s as if by showing how normal and easy-going the victims were, we’re being told “the Muslims that were murdered were not THOSE Muslims, they are exceptional Muslims” The victims could have been animal-hating, genocide-loving, hoarders and descendants of Kim Jong-il and they STILL should have had the right to life. We do not need to justify the victim; the victim is not on trial. This same treatment has been given to black lives that have been lost. The media touts the black victims as “Honor-roll students” and “exceptional”. Black people do not need to be exceptional in order to not get gunned down. Muslim people do not need to be exceptional in order to not get murdered. You don’t have to be a saint to deserve to live.

Craig Stephen Hicks is a proud atheist. I will not ask atheists to apologize for his actions. I will not pound on the doors of white people and demand an admission of guilt. I will not go on national news and decry atheists for not begging for my forgiveness. I will not sit on a talk show and question the allegiance of white people because they have not poured into the streets and each man, child, and woman denounced this man’s actions. I will not do that because I know that actions of few do not represent the beliefs of many.

These are all the liberties that are not granted to Muslim people in this country. But because I have been subject to all of these baseless demands, I know how offensive and humiliating it is. Talk show hosts, pundits, and commentators need to pay attention to what they are saying and be held responsible for the effects of their fear mongering and indoctrination of hate. I won’t go so far as to say they need to pay with their lives but they must acknowledge the lives they are destroying and the minds they are influencing.

When will we be afforded the same rights as the rest of America?


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