I, along with countless others, am deeply saddened by the shooting of three young Muslim students – Deah, Yusor, and Razan – at Chapel Hill on Tuesday. I am deeply saddened by the steadfast endurance of Islamophobia, bigotry, ignorance, and hate. I am deeply saddened by a Western media that continues to privilege tired, sensationalist, and misinformed narratives about Islam which perpetuate prejudice and further alienate vulnerable communities. I am deeply saddened that violence continues to be a default response, that fear can so effectively drown out opportunities for knowing and learning and understanding.
I am deeply saddened that acts of violence such as this – and those in Ferguson, in Syria, and throughout our human geography and history – can shake our faith in ultimate goodness and trust that right actions, however large or small, pull us slowly in the right direction. And yet that faith and trust, however bruised, must remain, heal, endure.
I am deeply saddened that awareness and positive change seem to happen most robustly in our country after immense suffering. I am saddened by a humanity that so easily turns to hatred and anger, and with such difficulty turns to love and compassion. I am saddened by the awareness of that difficulty within myself when confronted with this man who carried out this atrocity. And yet I must and will work to find compassion and love for him.
And I am deeply, eternally grateful that on such sad days we are able to turn to each other for support, for grieving, for renewal, for hope, for love, for forgiveness.
And march on.
If you’re interested in reading more, here are some articles I’ve found helpful:
“Chapel Hill Killings Reverberate Around the World” The Charlotte Observer
“Care for Three Murdered Students” beitwoodward
“#ChapelHillShooting – When Hate Wins, We All Lose“ Imam Khalid Latif, Huffington Post
“Letting Our Suffering Speak and be Public” Omid Safi, On Being
“Chapel Hill Shooting and Western Media Bigotry” Mohamad Elmasry, Aljazeera
“3 Muslim Students were Gunned Down in Possible Hate Crime: How Muslims and Atheists are Responding” Jack Jenkins, Think Progress