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MacDonald writes: "A shooting in the US, which has reportedly left three Muslims dead in a North Carolina university town, has set social media buzzing over accusations major media outlets have failed to give the story adequate coverage."

The three students killed on Tuesday evening attended the University of North Carolina (photo: Twitter)
The three students killed on Tuesday evening attended the University of North Carolina (photo: Twitter)


Murder of 3 Muslims in US Elicits Criticism Over Media Blackout

By Alex MacDonald, Middle East Eye

11 February 15

 

shooting in the US, which has reportedly left three Muslims dead in a North Carolina university town, has set social media buzzing over accusations major media outlets have failed to give the story adequate coverage.

According to local news media, police officers responded to a report of gunshots in Chapel Hill at 5:15pm (22:15 GMT).

Students Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and Yusor Mohammad, 21, both from Chapel Hill and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, from Raleigh, were all pronounced dead at the scene, according to local news reports. Some outlets described the killing as "execution-style."

Barakat was responsible for the Syrian Dental Relief program for Syrian refugee students in Turkey and had raised over $20,000 towards the program.

In January, he wrote on his Twitter account: "It's so freaking sad to hear people saying we should 'kill Jews' or 'kill Palestinians'. As if that's going to solve anything."

Deah Barakat and Yusor Mohammad married a month ago and photos of their wedding have been circulating since the killing.

In a statement, local police reported that a 46-year-old man, Craig Stephen Hicks, had been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and is being held in the Durham Country Jail after turning himself in. He due to make his first court appearence on Wednesday morning.

Police said “an ongoing neighbour dispute over parking” might have been the motivation for the killing.

“Our investigators are exploring what could have motivated Mr. Hicks to commit such a senseless and tragic act,” said Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue, according to CNN. “We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case.”

The shooting happened in a condominium complex off the University campus called Summerwalk Circle.

“It’s a very quiet community,” Bethany Boring, who lives in the complex, told local TV station WRAL. “It’s a lot of graduate and professional students. You know, professionals' families.”

The killings initially attracted very little attention in the US national press, although the New York Times, CNN and ABC have since written reports. The fact the killings featured low-down on the news agenda provoked an outpouring of criticism - particularly from activists and journalists with a Middle-East focus – who see it as an example of media disinterest in the lives of Muslims.

Activists speculated about a hate crime motive for the crime and were quick to point to the suspect’s Facebook page in which he apparently brands himself as an ‘anti-theist’, a term used by New Atheist proponents such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins that supposedly denotes someone “opposed to belief in the existence of a god".

Along Hicks’ Facebook banner photo was written:

“I don’t deny you your right to believe whatever you’d like; but I have the right to point out its ignorant and dangerous for as long as your baseless superstitions start killing people.”

Reaction on Twitter also saw numerous pastiches of the media response to killings carried out by Muslims.

Though the Twitter comments were intended as a satirical take on the way Muslim community leaders frequently find themselves called on to condemn attacks by Muslims, many claimed justification after New Atheist activists and writer Richard Dawkins tweeted out a condemnation of the attack:

Among the other images on Hicks' Facebook page was a photo of a gun in a holster, with the caption: "Yes, that is 1 pound 5.1 ounces for my loaded 38 revolver, its holster, and five extra rounds in a speedloader."

Hick's gun with holster, along with five extra rounds in the weapon. (photo: Facebook)

Hick's gun with holster, along with five extra rounds in the weapon. (photo: Facebook)

A press statement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), called for "state and federal law enforcement authorities to quickly address speculation of a possible bias motive in this case".

Ibrahim Hooper, director of communications for CAIR, pointed out that in the current climate it was necessary to make the motive clear.

“The alleged perpetrator made anti-religion and anti-muslim statements on his Facebook page, where he posted a picture of his loaded handgun,” he told Middle East Eye.

“Given the rise of anti-Muslim hate rhetoric in American society, its only prudent to look at the possibility of a bias motive in the case.”

He cited a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the US in recent months leading to increased community tensions.

“It's mainly since the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo office and the recent brutalities of the Islamic State group, there’s been just a horrific uptake in anti-Muslim rhetoric," he said. "Just myself, I’m getting dozens of hate calls and emails, and even death threats."

“So you can imagine this is being replicated around the country."

However, he suggested that it would be "premature" to attack media coverage of the event, pointing out that the story broke in local news late in the evening.

A Facebook page has been set up for the victims called "Our Three Winners" which has been providing updates about funeral arrangements and encouraging the posting of tributes and memorials to the slain students.

One of the posts features a video of Deah Barakat in which he promotes his Syrian dental charity:

Hours after the murders, more than $8,200 had been donated to his campaign.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

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+17 # ER444 2015-02-11 15:29
Oh Lord, three such beautiful young people. What have we become? Hate is so contagious... so is love!! Tolerance is even more important. It is high time that the leaders of all religious institutions stand up and buck up. The "Christian" church needs to get loud about their values of "love thy neighbor" and the moderate Islamists need to take back their religion from the high jacking terrorists. Fundamentalism is fundamentally narrow minded, closed, bigoted, unflexible and anthrophobic.
 
 
+11 # tomwalker8 2015-02-11 15:38
Excuse me for picking on a semantic nit, but the article states that "The fact the killings featured low-down on the news... who see it as an example of media disinterest in the lives of Muslims."

Disinterest means impartial, which judges should be. Uninterested would be the correct word. How is it possible that professional journalists don't know the difference?
 
 
0 # Merlin 2015-02-12 00:39
tomwalker8,
Nitpicking? No! This was a good catch! But not because the wrong word was used, IMO. So I must ask:

What makes you question that they don't know the difference and did this in ignorance?
 
 
+7 # Kwelinyingi 2015-02-11 18:29
The news blackout could well be the unwritten part of the blanket War on Terror. As for our MSM's penchant for trivia, nothing new or surprising here. That must be the MSM's undeclared War on Critical Thinking to keep their consumers stupefied.
 
 
+6 # Caliban 2015-02-11 22:13
Let's not be too quick to condemn MSM here. A shooting that occurred around 5:15pm (Eastern) in Chapel Hill, NC could hardly have been processed by police and then covered on the network evening news a little more than an hour later.

This sad event was certainly was being reported by late in the evening on national media web sites and got a significant block of time on NBC evening news this evening, with thoughtful reporting by Lester Holt, Brian Williams's more than competent replacement.

That said, NBC writers did give too much time to the silly story that the murders were over parking spaces at the apartment complex where both the killer and the student victims lived. However, Mr. Hicks's violently emotional attacks on religion were reported in some detail in North Carolina newspapers.
 
 
+5 # curmudgeon 2015-02-11 23:02
How tragic.....and watching MSM bend over backwards to 'whitwash' the excruciating loss of life, avoiding the reality.

If a Muslim gentleman had murdered 3 obviously vibrant, caring, involved young people, I would bet dollars to doughnuts that the headlines would have read '

'SENSELESS AND HORRIFIC TERROR ATTACK ON YOUNG INNOCENTS TAKES 3 LIVES'
 
 
0 # curmudgeon 2015-02-11 23:02
How tragic.....and watching MSM bend over backwards to 'whitwash' the excruciating loss of life, avoiding the reality.

If a Muslim gentleman had murdered 3 obviously vibrant, caring, involved young people, I would bet dollars to doughnuts that the headlines would have read '

'SENSELESS AND HORRIFIC TERROR ATTACK ON YOUNG INNOCENTS TAKES 3 LIVES'
 
 
0 # curmudgeon 2015-02-11 23:02
How tragic.....and watching MSM bend over backwards to 'whitwash' the excruciating loss of life, avoiding the reality.

If a Muslim gentleman had murdered 3 obviously vibrant, caring, involved young people, I would bet dollars to doughnuts that the headlines would have read '

'SENSELESS AND HORRIFIC TERROR ATTACK ON YOUNG INNOCENTS TAKES 3 LIVES'
 
 
0 # curmudgeon 2015-02-11 23:03
P.S.
 
 
+3 # curmudgeon 2015-02-11 23:11
P.S.
Sorry...Upper case/return on iPad = 'Send'.

This is a sad result, IMHO, of the $$$$ Islamphobia industry at work, having been aided and abetted by MSM' non-coverage of moderate Islam's condemnations of and demonstrations against the extremist's acts taking of innocent lives. This has created a culture of 'fear of other's' - in this case Muslims.

If Muslims in the U.S. were not afraid before.....

Just think about the history of lynchings, burnings, and other violence committed on 'other' minotities throughout our history.....Nat ive Americans, Blacks, Irish, Hispanics.
 
 
-1 # Akeel1701 2015-02-12 04:01
And so it begins.....
 
 
-3 # Billy Bob 2015-02-12 06:52
I think we can now dispel the myth that "atheist" means somehow "less prone to violence".
 
 
-7 # MidwestTom 2015-02-12 09:10
How can anybody claim that these killings are not being adequately covered. In Chicago we have killings of 2 to 5 people at least once a week, and they do not make national news.

Did you read about the father who stabbed his wife and shot their two children before killing himself earlier tis week in Indiana?

Our President declared the killing of the five Jewish people in a Paris Jewish grocery 'a random act', if that was random, this should be also, and we should move on.
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2015-02-12 09:34
Are all of those murders politically motivated hate crimes Tom?

Your own hatred seems to be on full display here, Tom. Let's be honest. You have a monetary motivation for most of your own hatred. You work for an industry (the oil industry via your chemical company that contracts to them), and the industry that makes you a very wealthy person views Arabic people and, frequently, Muslims, as standing in the way of your ability to extract all of that filthy black sludge for profit.

Your opinions on this mattered are very tainted, to say the least.
 
 
+3 # djnova50 2015-02-12 11:19
Hicks is an atheist; but, he is also an extremist. He could have easily killed 3 devout Christians. Or, three members of any other religion.

Spreading hate is not going to help anybody. We should be spreading kindness.
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2015-02-12 12:27
Exactly. "Atheism" is just as prone to attracting extremist lunatics as any other "theism". The extremism of "knowing I'm right, knowing you're wrong, and knowing it's my mission to correct you" is the real problem.

We can't honestly blame atheism, per se, for this any more than we should blame Christianity, Judaism, or Islam for the actions of extreme lunatics who claim to act on their behalf.

BUT, we DO.

We DO blame whole religions for the actions of tiny minorities of their self-professed adherents all the time - especially in regard to crazy Muslims.

My only point is that we need to be consistent. I've often heard atheists blaming all war on organized religion. The same standard should apply to atheists now, as well.

Otherwise, we'll have to admit that one's self-professed creed is neither the cause of, nor the defense for, actions of pure hatred.

Otherwise, we may even have to admit that the truth is more subtle - namely, that all wars are (and always have been) fought for FUN AND PROFIT - INCLUDING THE CRUSADES (for anyone who's actually read about them seriously).
 
 
+1 # lfeuille 2015-02-12 23:02
Quoting Billy Bob:
Exactly. "Atheism" is just as prone to attracting extremist lunatics as any other "theism". The extremism of "knowing I'm right, knowing you're wrong, and knowing it's my mission to correct you" is the real problem.

We can't honestly blame atheism, per se, for this any more than we should blame Christianity, Judaism, or Islam for the actions of extreme lunatics who claim to act on their behalf.

BUT, we DO.

We DO blame whole religions for the actions of tiny minorities of their self-professed adherents all the time - especially in regard to crazy Muslims.

My only point is that we need to be consistent. I've often heard atheists blaming all war on organized religion. The same standard should apply to atheists now, as well.

Otherwise, we'll have to admit that one's self-professed creed is neither the cause of, nor the defense for, actions of pure hatred.

Otherwise, we may even have to admit that the truth is more subtle - namely, that all wars are (and always have been) fought for FUN AND PROFIT - INCLUDING THE CRUSADES (for anyone who's actually read about them seriously).


Well, atheists are under-represent ed in prisons. The crime rate is generally lower. That does not mean that no atheist will ever commit a crime.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-02-13 08:49
Most people aren't atheists. So, you're right. Most prisoners aren't atheists either. Zoroastrians are also under-represent ed in prisons.
 
 
+2 # JSRaleigh 2015-02-12 14:18
It's getting a fair amount of coverage here locally.

It doesn't appear to be a "hate" crime so much as it's an "asshole with a gun who doesn't get along with his neighbors" crime.
It's a "road rage" killing over a parking space.

The victims could have been any race or religion.

http://www.wral.com/news/local/video/14440378/

http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/11/4548732/chapel-hill-neighbors-describe.html
 
 
+1 # Stevodevo 2015-02-12 21:28
Why any man would kill pretty young women is beyond my comprehension.
 
 
-1 # Billy Bob 2015-02-13 08:50
Ugly old women, on the other hand…

Sorry, I couldn't resist.
 
 
+2 # Dion Giles 2015-02-13 00:40
The killer needed a gun. Another three irreplaceable victims towards the Second Amendment tally of 10,000 for 2015.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-02-13 08:54
But, unless every psychotic asshole with a grudge has the right to a personal arsenal capable of murdering dozens of people without even needing to reload, the King of England can come and take away your freedoms.

NOTE: SARCASM
 

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