I’ve read a number of headlines that essentially frames it this way: “….the killing of 3 MUSLIM students”. By reading just the headlines before the story, the impression given to me is that this must be a case of anti-Muslim bigotry and a “hate crime” (I hate that term). As Retire pointed out to me a while back, supported by Pew research, anti-Semitism remains a larger problem than anti-Muslim bigotry.
After reading the actual known facts, it’s evident that those headlines are pushing a perspective and an agenda. Meanwhile, commenters whose own bias leads them to believe that this was a case of anti-Muslim prejudice and hatred, are whining about American media hypocrisy, drawing moral equivalency between this and Hebdo, blaming “Faux” news and “hate radio”; calling this a case of “Christian terrorism” and blaming mainstream media for not condemning it as such.
Dean Obeidallah of the Daily Beast writes a highly inflammatory, irresponsible piece. He’s essentially become the religious equivalent of an Al Sharpton race hustler. It is biased, agenda-driven trash. After patting himself on the back for being one of those “Muslim leaders” invited to meet with President Obama at the White House a week ago and warning the president of rising anti-Muslim bigotry, Obeidallah writes:
Yes, I know that we can’t be certain at this moment exactly why the gunman murdered three Muslim-American students—Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19—in cold blood. And true, the local police have noted that its “preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking.”
But I doubt very much that anti-Muslim hate didn’t play some role in this attack.
Why not? Because this is a writer and activist with a political agenda. He wants this to be a case of religiously-motivated anti-Islam bigotry.
After offering personal bias as “evidence” for this being a “hate crime”, mostly by relying on the personal bias of “friends and family” members, Obeidallah then admits,
As of now, we have no public statements from Hicks as to his motivation for the murders, although his wife insists it had nothing to do with the victims’ religion. Hicks’s Facebook page sheds a little light but it also paints a complex picture of the man. Hicks wrote, “Some call me a gun toting Liberal, others call me an open-minded Conservative.” He was apparently a supporter of gay marriage and a fan of certain progressive organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center.
He was also an avowed atheist and had expressed contempt for all faiths, including Islam. Hicks had posted passages from famed atheist Richard Dawkins and “liked” Sam Harris’s Facebook page, both of which have spewed hateful comments about Islam. Dawkins has condemned the attack on Twitter.
The investigation will continue into this tragedy that ended the lives of three young Muslim Americans. I can’t even imagine the heartbreak the parents feel, especially the father who lost two young daughters on the same day. And while part of me would prefer to wish that this was really a dispute over a parking space, I have little doubt that these three young people would be alive today if they were any other faith than Muslim.
Here’s what Hicks’ wife had to say:
“This incident had nothing to do with religion or the victims’ faith but was related to a longstanding parking dispute that my husband had with the neighbors,” she told reporters in front of her home.
She described Hicks as a champion of individual rights in many areas, including race and same-sex marriage, and thinks that “everyone is equal.”
Later Wednesday, she issued another statement, saying she’s divorcing her husband.
Her attorney, Robert Maitland, said there had been a dispute with the homeowners’ association over parking. Neighbors explained that each unit has one reserved space but that parking can be confusing.
“It is a simple matter that has nothing to do with the religious faith of the victims,” Maitland said. “It is a mundane issue of this man being frustrated day in and day out, and unfortunately, these victims were there at the wrong time at the wrong place.”
Where is the evidence that Hicks was driven to do his dirty deed by hate radio and Fox News?
One of the links Obeidallah provides in his selective reading:
Back in January 2011, Hicks commented on the shooting of U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords, saying:
I guess after the horrible tragedy early this week in Arizona, all Glock pistols will officially be labeled “assault weapons.” While I never cared for Glocks personally, it stinks that anyone would blame a firearm rather than the operator of such firearm for such a terrible act. I think I’ll start blaming McDonalds for my weight problem, Christianity for the Ku Klux Klan, and Islam for terrorism.
Here is the post:
In the context of the sarcasm at the end, I’d say he isn’t putting blame on McDonalds for his weight problem, Christianity for the KKK; nor Islam for “terrorism”.
Hicks supported gay rights and was an avowed atheist. If you mine his Facebook page, you’ll be hard-pressed to find that he fits the profile of a Fox-news, talk radio-loving Islamaphobic-driven conservative hate-monger.
Why is it so difficult to not accept things at face-value, and believe that this was simply a case of parking-rage? People in America are murdered each day by stranger stuff.
I don’t dispell the possibility that Hicks could have been motivated by anti-Islamic sentiments. I just haven’t seen evidence that points to this as being the case. If anything, I see evidence that points to the contrary.
Condolences to the victims and their family affected by this tragic murder. Let’s hope they are not further victimized by agenda-driven, wrongful propaganda.
*Update* 2-13-2015 00:18
Update 2-16-2015 13:38
He seems to have a bee in his bonnet over parking> This is a second post I’ve seen where he makes mention of something like this:
Here’s his other post, from last month:
There’s road rage. And then there is apparently parking rage.