Mehreen Kasana


What is American Society’s Role in the Chapel Hill Shooting?

As a growing chorus insists the murder of three Muslims be treated as a hate crime, the U.S. should do some soul-searching

Craig Stephen Hicks

There are two narratives surfacing on the Chapel Hill shooting. One frames the gruesome incident as “a lethal escalation of a neighborhood parking dispute” devoid of any social context in which the murders occurred; mainstream media organizations like CNN are still uncertain whether the execution-styled triple homicide of three young Muslim students was indeed a hate crime conducted by Craig Stephen Hicks. The other, called for by Muslims around the world as well as the father of the two sisters who were murdered, insists that Hicks’ actions be acknowledged as stemming from hate. The latter, thus-far alternative narrative—that we understand the incident as a norm, not an exception—demands far more reckoning from Western, non-Muslim readers. With the vicious rise in Islamophobia after 9/11, but also America’s deeply entrenched racism that predates 2001 by centuries, racially motivated paranoia of Muslims is firmly embedded in the psychological composition of American society. And it has a lot more to do with the subliminal messages surrounding us than overt declarations of hatred.

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