Finding out the news about the Chapel Hill Shooting was utterly disheartening. For those of you who do not know what this is about, on Tuesday February 10, three people were shot execution style in their home. A man entered their home and shot each of them in the head.
One of them was a man who was attending dental school and an aspiring philanthropist. Another was his wife who has just recently been accepted into the same dental school. They were newly weds who got married just six weeks prior. The third was the girls little sister who was a freshman in college. Anyone who knew them had nothing but kind things to say about them. They left such great impressions on all of the lives they touched. They were nice people.
The only problem was that they were Muslim.
The only problem with that is that it should not matter what someone’s religious identity is when it comes to hate crimes and murder.
A man entered a home and shot three young Muslims. In their own home. And I found out through Twitter and Facebook. A lot of us did. The lack of media coverage on this brutal situation shows us what mainstream media really cares about. It shows us how much CNN and FOX and BBC have to offer to the world when it comes to “Kim Kardashian’s New Haircut” and not “Young Muslims Brutally Murdered in home by Terrorist Attack.”
Now I know they have not officially stated that it is a hate crime. There are stories flying around that it was because of a parking dispute. However, the family’s father told the press that his daughter had mentioned that their neighbor had previously been angry with them and was always hostile towards them. He had a reputation for not tolerating those of other religions. He was known to always be angry. He had shown at their apartment with a gun before telling them to keep the noise down when they were playing board games one night.
The man executed them in their own home. Out of respect for the lives that were taken away, we should not buy into this “parking dispute” fabrication. Nobody kills three people over a parking spot.
But it seems like that is what all of the news outlets are telling us. That a guy killed three people because they had an issue over a parking spot, not that the guy was racist and had problems with Muslims. (It’s all over his Facebook Page.)
My heart is heavy for the lives lost. My heart is heavy because of how our news networks have responded to this. My heart is heavy because those three beautiful people were just like you and I. It could have been anyone.
And it is scary to know that if I were to get murdered tomorrow, as a Muslim, nobody would care. The news would not cover it as a hate crime. It would be because of a parking dispute or cutting someone in line at a grocery store. Maybe I would accidentally cut someone in line at an ice cream shop or take extra time while ordering my morning coffee.
My Hijab feels as heavy as my heart. The symbol that lets others know who I am and what I believe in is starting to scare me. I am scared that I might be targeted for a hate crime because of my religion. We live in a country that prides itself on freedom, especially freedom of religion and beliefs. But when tragedies like this occur, it puts a bad taste in my mouth about all of that.
Educate yourselves before your hate gets to such a heinous level that you have to murder people because of it. Nobody deserves to die because of his or her beliefs.
My Hijab is heavy today but I will lift my head up and stand strong and tall tomorrow. For Deah, for Yusor, for Razan, and for the 99.9% of the Muslims in the world who believe in peace and love and equality. I will be strong for those people who are neither ignorant nor intolerant of others’ religions and beliefs. I will be strong for those who have lost their lives to hate crimes and I will pray that I do not lose my life to one.
May the victims rest in peace. May their families heal. And may justice be brought to this paining situation.
My Hijab feels as heavy as my heart today but it will only make me stronger.