race + gender + politics

To Kill a Hoopoe

February 11, 2015


Solomon was David’s heir. He said, “O people, we have been endowed with understanding the language of the birds, and all kinds of things have been bestowed upon us. This is indeed a real blessing.” (Quran 27:16)

He inspected the birds, and noted: “Why do I not see the hoopoe? Why is he missing?
“I will punish him severely or sacrifice him, unless he gives me a good excuse.”
He did not wait for long. (The hoopoe) said, “I have news that you do not have. I brought to you from Sheba, some important information. (Quran 27:20-22)

Last night, 3 young adults were shot in the head and killed near the campus of University of North Carolina by a 46 year old white atheist male. The victims – Deah Shaddy Barakat (23), his wife, Yusor Mohammad (21), and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha (19) – were Muslim American students. May they rest in paradise.

It may come as no surprise that there has been very little national news coverage on the incident, and even less wide media discussion on Islamaphobic or anti-Muslim sentiments. The outrage and protests over the Charlie Hebdo shooting by “Muslim extremists” was plastered on major news outlets for hours at a time, day in and day out. Sentiments of #JeSuisCharlie/#IAmCharlie were very prevelent in the US, in solidarity with French brethern over the senseless, tragic incident. Let the mainstream American media tell it, If we don’t take a stand against them all, they will take away our freedoms. They will destroy us and what we believe in. You know, what we hold near and dear deep in our hearts, which is so… easily stripped away? Because, well, we never had a good hold on it anyway. We just have to give an excuse. We can’t let them get away with… living life just as you and I. You see what happened with us Blacks. We can’t humanize one Muslim, because we might get distracted and think they’re all good people and deserving of respect and trust. And really, they probably hate non-Muslims and “moderate” Muslims and wish harm behind our backs. American will lose

So no, there will be no #IAmDeah or #IAmYusor or #IAmRazan movements. There will be no national outpour of concern for the Chapel Hill victims. There will be no solidarity stances with Muslim Americans. There will be no consolation or comforting of their grief and sorrow for the loss of members of their community. Our nation will, however, assuage or erase western guilt. We will overlook hate and bigotry of a whole religion largely generalized and demonized for the actions of a radical minority. We will not make comparisons of or draw attention to the terrorism and accepted dehumanizing acts of western culture, currently or throughout history. And we will not demand anyone apologize or denounce any atrocities against Muslims. Instead, we will ignore the outcry of our Muslim compatriots and make them explain themselves instead. We will allow them to live in fear for their lives and offer them no reassurance or protection, while we simultaneously blame them for our own fears and insecurities. Because we, as western-loving, Christian-founded, capitalist-driven Americans, are the real victims, aren’t we?

As-Salaam Alaikum,

Our condolences to the families of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha and her sister Razan, the three young Muslims who were murdered yesterday in North Carolina. May their entrance into Paradise be swift and sure, as is the case for the martyr (a martyr is an innocent victim of violence, not a suicide bomber).

Many are complaining of the lack of media coverage around this event. The sad fact is that the mainstream media that recently brought us “I am Charlie” has no interest in humanizing Muslims. The deceased were too full of life and positive energy to meet the stereotype of the evil, sneaky, not to be trusted Muslim. Why provide free humanizing coverage to the adherents of an evil ideology, hellbent on taking over the country. The smiles, vitality and genuine concern for others exhibited by the deceased will likely be dismissed as Taqiyya, self-serving deception.

As for their self-proclaimed atheist killer, Craig Stephen Hicks, there is no way he could be an adherent of an evil ideology. He probably never heard of Sam Harris or Christopher Hitchens or their humanized atheism ilk who openly call for the indiscriminate mass murder of Muslims. He’ll likely be declared insane, perhaps he went to view American Sniper and lost it.

May the deaths of these beautiful young people, and all others who have perished as a result of senseless, inexcusable violence, anywhere, not be in vain. May they motivate us all to do more to stop this insanity, because all of their lives do truly matter.

Imam Zaid Shakir



Indeed, their lives do truly matter. When will we acknowledge them? When will we honor them? When will we consider American [non-Islamic] terrorism and fight against that?


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  • Reply Tunde February 11, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    i hate that these killings are going to be rationalized with some piss poor reason. it needs to classified as a hate crime. i really don’t give a damn about what the terrorist’s wife has to say; this is not about no damn parking dispute. also, seeing the amount of Islamophobia on social media today is disgusting. i hope the victims rest well.

    • Reply Gem February 11, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      yep. exactly what you said. this just cant continue. smh

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