Three young Muslims lost their lives in a savage gun attack in the North Carolina town of Chapel Hill the other day. These three innocent Muslims, martyred by being shot in the head, were Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Abu-Salha.
Craig Stephen Hicks, a neighbor and the suspected killer of these young Muslims, surrendered to police and confessed to the murders. Hicks was an aggressive atheist, well known for posting hate-filled messages against all religions on social media and advocating for their total elimination.
Stephen Hicks is reported to have had contacts with more than 50 atheist groups in many countries. Hicks’ Facebook account carries quotations from atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher, whom he greatly admired, as well as messages full of hatred and defamation of Islam.
He also shared pictures of the weapons he purchased just before the killings on the social media. A search of Stephen Hicks' home unearthed an armory of a dozen rifles and pistols, in addition to the weapons found on his person, and plentiful ammunition; it even included military items. This gives the impression that perhaps Hicks was preparing for a major rampage of some kind.
A Blatant Hate Crime
Although some segments of the U.S. media seek to present the killings as a simple dispute over a parking place, they were in fact obviously a hate crime. Hate-filled comments by Hicks about the revealed faiths and their members, and Islam in particular, were all over the social media and leave no possible doubt.
Moreover, the father of the two dead sisters reported that before his daughter died she said in the context of Hicks that she had "a hateful neighbor” and quoted his daughter as saying “he hates us for what we are and how we look.” He also said “This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt.”
Everyone knows that Hicks harbored a particular hatred and enmity toward Islam. Philosophers such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Bill Maher, known as the ‘New Atheists’ and greatly admired by Hicks, who shared their ideas at every opportunity, are also known for their strong antipathy to Islam. Dawkins has even gone so far as to describe Islam as, in his opinion, "one of the great evils in the world.” In the light of Hicks' savage and cold-blooded murders, it is not difficult to conclude that he was inspired by the New Atheists’ hate-filled talk against Islam.
Of course, so long as it remains at the level of ideas, and that this is not translated into actual violence, hatred, defamation, terrorism or killing, everyone has the perfect right to believe in or reject any idea, philosophy or ideology.
Yet Stephen Hicks stepped beyond the theoretical bounds of his atheist Darwinist identity and committed a vile and ruthless crime. This has again led to questioning of this ideology, whose irrationality and illogicality has been exposed by science from all perspectives, and of the social damage to which it leads.
The Only Difference Is That They Were Muslims
Readers will recall that the Charlie Hebdo murders became the main story in the global media within a few hours of their perpetration. The international media carried the story incessantly for days on end. Political figures from all countries raced to express their sorrow and condemnation in the wake of the incident.
Huge protests were staged in even the most unrelated of places, and fiery speeches were made.
Let us now return to the Muslims slaughtered in Chapel Hill. They were also victims of the same kind of loathsome hate killings. They were all peace-loving, innocent, civilized, intellectual and friendly people who simply went about their own business. They harbored no hostility or aggression toward anyone. Their only difference is that they were Muslims, rather than Christians, Jews or atheists.
For that reason, the U.S. media, and CNN in particular, tried to gloss over the killing of these poor innocent people because of their faith and beliefs, giving the impression it was just an ordinary murder, either by ignoring it or by not naming the victims.
The U.S. police also described the killing as a criminal matter. No senior American or European official, bureaucrat or diplomat condemned the killing as a hate-crime against Muslims.
Until there was a significant reaction in the social media these killings were being ignored. Messages emphasized the hypocrisy of the media that report the slightest incident in the Middle East the moment it happens, but ignore the martyring of Muslims at home.
In the face of these reactions, one segment of the media gradually began to speak of the possibility that the incident was a hate crime against Islam. In the face of these reactions, President Obama, who remained silent for a long time after the murders, finally felt the need to issue a statement 72 hours after they occurred.
Let me inform everyone who is amazed at the silence and lack of reaction and sensitivity in the face of the killing of three Muslims at Chapel Hill that the same silence - and lack of reaction and interest - has been going on for many years during the routine daily slaughter of hundreds of Muslims across the world. This all naturally leads to the following awkward questions:
Have you never stopped to think how odd this all is? Have you never been amazed by the scale of this abnormality?
If you have never been surprised before, then think about it from now on. Do not forget that all lives are valuable and that everyone has the right to live freely. Do not discriminate on the basis of race, language, ethnicity or color when raising your voices and protesting against wrongdoing. We are all human beings; therefore, let us react in the proper – and human – manner and let us see no differences in standing against the sinister forces of hatred, prejudice and bigotry.