I haven’t told my eight year old daughter about the Chapel Hill shooting.
I don’t want her to know that Muslim college students who are model citizens, work hard, and do everything right are still at risk of being murdered in cold blood by their neighbors.
I want to conceal from her as long as I can, that basketball-playing, all-American, joyful young Muslim college students are at risk of being executed in their apartments.
After being murdered, these community volunteers who devote themselves to the poor and the needy, are blamed. They used a parking spot. They laughed and talked in their own home. They wore clothes that reflected their faith.
This young radiant couple and the young wife’s sister – ‘best third wheel ever,’ Deah called her – had a bright future and they looked toward a better world for all of us.
What was their fault? What did they do to be executed?
So I don’t want to tell my kid that she is growing up in a culture where she and her faith community are routinely demonized. I don’t want her to know – until when? Until she is ready. When will she be ready? When are you ready to deal with hate for being who you are?
So I surf channels and I absorb the hate from Fox News, and I mutter about it to my husband so my daughter will not hear me. I don’t want her to grow up with the disease of self-hate. I don’t want her to feel like she has to hide who she is. I don’t want her to know that when she steps out into the world and, happily, shares how she prays namaz, she may be putting herself at risk.
When she joins the mosque youth group that contributes to a peace garden project at the Mennonite Church, someone will be watching and reading the worst into this bridge-building. Someone will be saying, “They have conquered us through immigration. They have conquered us through interfaith dialogue.”
And yet again, through this tragedy, we have learned that mainstream media have made themselves irrelevant by their selective silences, by their falsehoods, by their selling of hate. We have learned to rely on social media for our news.
Some people think that the disease of Islamophobia is limited to right-wing Christians and Zionists. They have learned, today, that this is not the case. Much Western secularity is just as infected with the contagion of hate as is right-wing religion. We have seen how laicite often thinly veils a long-standing racism. It’s not religion – whether Christianity, or Islam – that is the problem, nor is atheism and secularity the problem. The problem is racism all wrapped up in hate.
Racism wrapped up in hate. Hate and anger all wrapped up in excuses. Fury agains hijabs and adhans all wrapped up in the paucity of parking spaces.
But without guns, hate would be yes, horrible – traumatic, even. But without guns, a mother would not lose her child, a father would not have to bury his young son or daughter, the world would not lose another shining star, another hope for tomorrow.
For those who think that we need more guns to protect ourselves, let them consider the Chapel Hill shooting. For those who think we need go into a preventive war frenzy, consider the young lives of Yusor, Deah, and Razan.
In memory of these loving and bright souls, I will not retweet or share any hateful posts. I reject everything that fans the flames of the hate that took the lives of Deah, Yusor, and Razan. I ask you to do the same. For you, for me. For our tomorrows. For our children.