Misassumptions of an American tragedy
Letter to the Editor | Friday, February 20, 2015
I wanted to respond to the Feb. 18 letter entitled “Justice for Muslims” that reacts to the recent murder of three Muslim students in North Carolina. The authors describe the killing as “a disgusting reminder of the hatred towards Islam which we unfortunately see living among us in America.”
The writers’ characterization of the killer’s motivation is at best, deeply irresponsible. According to the Chapel Hill Police Department, the “preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking.” Despite acknowledging that “all the details are not yet accessible to the public,” the writers claim that “these students lost their lives on the basis of faith” and that the violence was “an act of terrorism” and a “hate crime” without providing a shred of evidence to support these statements. While Craig Hicks, who was indicted in the murders, had posted anti-Muslim material on his Facebook page, the “New York Times” reported, “his anger appeared to be aimed primarily at Christians.” In the wake of Michael Brown, Henry Louis Gates and Duke lacrosse, where early cries of “racism” proved to be unfounded, it would seem wise to wait for all the facts to come in before making such damning accusations.
Drawing attention to injustice is a noble cause. But it is clear that the writers attached themselves to a theory of this heinous crime, which the facts have not yet borne out. It may later be found that these students were murdered because of their religion, but the authors’ knee-jerk reaction of “terrorism” will only widen the racial “schism” in our society that they claim they want to solve. The writers were correct that “this tragedy can and will be spun in many ways.” It is unfortunate they chose to do so in a way that spreads potential misinformation and discord in an effort to make a political statement.
second-year law student
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.