I write about Islamophia a lot on this site, and we talk a lot about it on our news radio show. We’ve talked a lot about how the hateful, fearful rhetoric translates into violence. As most of you are by now aware, last week there was a triple murder in Chapel Hill, North Carolina of a Muslim family. It seems quite likely, despite all media spin to the contrary, that the attacker was motivated to extreme violence because they were visibly “different” and perhaps symbolized to him everything he (reportedly) despises about religion in general. In particular, there has been a lot of anti-Islamic vitriol directed from all quarters, including some broadly anti-religious factions, which is not matched in breadth and intensity against other religions. Whatever his motivation, it was, at any rate, not merely because of some made-up parking dispute (as if that would somehow make it better). They would probably not have been targeted had they not been visibly Muslim (or visibly some other thing that set them apart and was the object of a lot of American hatred).
I don’t have anything new to contribute to the discussion, especially since this horrific act just confirms a lot of what I had already been saying and since others have said so much more so much better. So, I will just point people toward the Fusion article on the affair entitled “My best friend was killed and I don’t know why”. Here’s an excerpt:
I know that he’s an aggressive man. That’s not the first we’ve heard from him. Hicks was their neighbor.
In October or November, we went to dinner at Yusor and Deah’s house. Right after we left, Yusor heard a knock at the door and it was Hicks. She told us he was angry and said we were noisy and there were two extra cars in the neighborhood. We used visitor parking but he was still mad. He said we woke up his wife. It wasn’t that dark yet. It wasn’t late. And it wasn’t that loud. We were playing a board game called Risk. I mean, I know I was mad because they were beating me at the game, but that was it. While he was at the door talking to Yusor, he was holding a rifle, she told me later. He didn’t point it at anyone, but he still had it. Yusor called to check on us after we left, to make sure he hadn’t approached us. We thought that was so weird—our neighbors don’t come to the door with guns! So when I heard the news it was shocking, but it wasn’t a surprise that it was the neighbor.
When I heard the news report and drove down there from Raleigh, I hoped it wasn’t anyone I knew. But I saw the apartment on the news and it was his apartment. If it wasn’t a hate crime, what was it? If you have a problem with your neighbors, you write a letter; you don’t shoot people. I think they were targeted because they were different. He was always so annoyed with them for little things. They are talking about a parking dispute online—that’s definitely not true. There’s plenty of space, and Deah had just gotten off the bus. I wonder if he just thought Deah was some white guy before his wife moved in.
Do go read the full essay.