Muslim lives are not taken away because of ‘road rage’ and ‘parking disputes’.
Seventeen-year-old Nabra Hassanen was killed near a mosque in Sterling, Virginia [Courtesy Hassanen family via AP Photo]Seventeen-year-old Nabra Hassanen was killed near a mosque in Sterling, Virginia [Courtesy Hassanen family via AP Photo]
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Malak Chabkoun is an independent Middle East researcher and writer based in the US.
When Nabra Hassanen’s father was asked about her murder, he told The Guardian that he did not buy the “road rage” explanation: “I don’t believe this story. I tell [sic] the detective the same thing … He killed my daughter because she is Muslim. That’s what I believe. That’s what I told him.”
When Muslims or people of colour are victims of crimes, investigators caution the public and media to be level-headed and unbiased until all the facts are verified. Commentators rush to caution viewers and social media followers that they shouldn’t rush to judgment about the motive of the murderer, instead focusing on blaming the victim, explaining away the hate or just plain dismissing that Muslims are increasingly a targeted group in the US and other Western nations.
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It would be fine to ask the public to “wait for the official investigation” if these same commentators would withhold judgment on investigations when a Muslim is a perpetrator of a crime, but that is not the case. When a Muslim is accused of a crime, media analysts immediately begin to report it as terrorism, without taking into account that Muslims who commit crimes do so for the same reasons as other criminals – because they have no regard for laws or for other human lives.