‘American Terrorist’: Middle East reacts to Murder of 3 Muslim-American Students in N Carolina

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) –

If American mass media seemed reluctant to cover the murder of three Muslims students at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill as a hate crime, the same was not true in the Middle East, where strong opinions were aroused.

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan criticized President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for not speaking out on the issue (which is under investigation by local police and the FBI).

Erdogan said, “If you stay silent when faced with an incident like this, and don’t make a statement, the world will stay silent towards you . . . As politicians, we are responsible for everything that happens in our countries and we have to show our positions.”

Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party leans to the religious Right and Erdogan has a special interest in Islamophobia in the West, i.e. discrimination against Muslims in Europe and North America.

In Egypt, the foremost center of Sunni learning and religious authority, al-Azhar Seminary, issued a strong condemnation of what it called an “Islamophobic act” by a “terrorist” in the US. Al-Azhar said it was “extremely disgusted that anyone would undertake such a cowardly act, which “demonstrates that terrorism has no religion or nation.” It called for swift justice against the perpetrator. Al-Azhar called upon the US authorities to deal quickly with the perpetrators. It said it was worried about the increasing targeting of Muslims in the West.

Egypt’s office of Islamic jurisprudence (Dar al-Ifta’) warned that the number of Western Muslims who said they had suffered from being victimized for being Muslim had doubled.

The government of Lebanon termed the murders a “crime against humanity” and “terrorism.”

Palestinians in Gaza demonstrated against the murders, decrying what they called the “double standards” of the West.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said that two of the victims were Jordanians and it condemned what it called a media blackout in the US over the incident.

In general, Middle Easterners are outraged and blame Islamophobia, and call the murders a ‘crime against humanity.” They worry that a hostile environment is growing up in the US against American Muslims.

Related video:

The Telegraph: “US gunman purportedly hated Muslims for what they were, relays friend”

24 Responses

  1. There is a video with Anderson Cooper where Deah’s sister states that the man told Deah that he was not comfortable with the way they looked. Things became worse when Deah’s wife, visibly Muslim, moved in. Then you also have the man’s facebook post regarding “your religion.” How is this NOT a hate crime? Patiently waiting for a government statement.

  2. Alaa al-Ameri

    Al-Azhar is concerned about murder of innocent people over beliefs? See their official fatwa mandating the killing of apostates.

  3. Melvin Hendrix

    US record on #humanrights is atrocious/hypocritical. The #KillingOfJournalists in #Iraq by #USMercenaries remains uninvestigated.

  4. aisha

    @rulajebreal I’m disappointed at @BarackObauma & joe Biden for their silence. #MuslimLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter

  5. Three beautiful people dead,for nothing..truly a shame…whether or not over parking or they being Muslims…

  6. Ken Scott

    @rulajebreal the “debate” is people trying to make this about their political agenda. In the process, this nut becomes “somebody”

  7. I’m appalled by the US media on this act of terrorism. CNN goes out of the way to indicate why it’s not a hate crime. If they were shot in the parking lot in a fit of passion over a spot, that would be one thing, but this was an execution in their room.

    I hope Bill Maher and others reflect on their role in villifying over a billion people with one stroke of the brush. The vast majority are peaceful, even after provocations like this crime, as well as the illegal wars and drone attacks waged against them.

    Imagine the reaction if this was an attack on Jews or synagogues. Anti-semites, terrorists! Now it’s a lone, angry man!

    • The assailant’s ex-wife has stated that the shooter was obsessed with the Michael Douglas film “Falling Down” about an unemployed and divorced engineer who goes on a killing spree with a gun targeting those in society – including immigrants – whom he blames on his misfortune.

      The killer at Chapel Hill reportedly previously watched the film repeatedly and found the scenes amusing.

  8. The politics of fear has really taken hold in the US — just as I was beginning to think that maybe Americans were fed up with it. Clearly, I read the wrong Americans. I should make a point of staying in touch with what the pollsters call “the low-information” Americans.

    Of course the shooting is an anti-Muslim act — a terrorist act. What else are we supposed to assume when three Muslims are slaughtered, execution-style, by what Goldberg recently called “a white man with a weapon and a grudge.”

  9. The perpetrator 1) was against all religion; 2) had a gun. The gun lobby in the U.S. should recognize the danger of excessively lax gun laws and speak out about this case. The Christians and Jews in this country should also condemn anyone who shoots on account of (any) religion. This can be a time for our country to come together.

    • The gun lobby in the U.S. should recognize the danger of excessively lax gun laws and speak out about this case.

      If the gun lobby has anything to say about this case it will be in the form of an argument for more people to buy more guns.

      This can be a time for our country to come together.

      Our country has had more times to come together than anyone can count, but we remain as divided today as when the first settlers referred to the native people as “savages.”

      One of my favorite writers, Walter Karp, said in an essay on the Pledge of Allegiance that despite the many differences on display at that time that we remained “one nation, …, indivisible” because of the US Constitution. After Dubya and now Obama shredding the Constitution for their own ends we can no longer make that claim.

      Given the American propensity for gullibility and the prevalence of fear- and warmongers there is little cause to be optimistic that “our country will come together.”

    • The Judeo-Christian religious right will just bleat that this proves all atheists and secular humanists are monsters plotting their extermination. Then next week they will go back to saying the same things about Moslems. What matters is cultivating fear into an electoral bloc for outright Christian theocracy.

  10. The man was insane, indeed, seemingly possessed. He would see the two women, and the combination of their comely features and pious hijabs drove him to an apoplexy which such an unreflective creature as he could never possibly have recognized or understood. And so he walked mindlessly, gun in hand, to murder because his own doom did not matter or even occur to him. Such is the insanity of true visceral hate.

  11. The perp. was a hot headed, violent gun nut against ALL RELIGION, not just Muslims. Noise and problems with parking, rather than religion, seems to have been the biggest factors setting this guy off. In the video, the woman talking said her friend had spoken about the noise complaint.

    • It’s not like a bigot has ever exaggerated a minor grievance to justify their animosity. Perhaps he would have killed them even if they were white skinned blondes, but the trigger isn’t necessarily the same as the motivation.

      Aside from that, I don’t understand why people seem to believe that hating ALL religion makes someone less of a bigot than hating ONE religion.

      • Twelve years ago, the media would not have treated this as a hate crime. In 2003, millions of Americans wanted to invade Iraq just to mass murder Muslims. Using Saddam’s WMD as a reason for war was just an excuse. Even with WMDs, Hussein did NOT have the delivery systems needed to attack the United States.Today, people blame dumb George Bush because they don’t want to admit they had blood lust for all Muslims, but that is the reality.

    • Oh, baloney. We have only the one act to go on. He did not kill Christians, Jews, Buddhists, or Hindus. He killed Muslims. That’s a hate crime.

  12. For the US media to make an issue of this would distort the preferred image of the US. The simple truth is North Americans don’t much care for Moslems and there is no automatic sense of outrage when things like this happen, outrage such as there would be were the victims from some more affectionately recognised subsection of US society able to provoke communal solidarity as it does in the Middle East. This sort of atrocity can even make people uncomfortable by forcing them to consider things about their society over which they have no direct control and would sooner not know about, things better left for officials to sweep under the carpet by putting on solemn faces, strongly condemning them, expressing sympathy to the families and promising investigation, etc. etc.

  13. Huffington Post has had the Denmark killings front and center all day. Now a picture of emergency people wheeling injured and dead away. I am not in any way shape or form saying that this tragedy does not need to be covered. However the Kayla death stayed up front and center over there for almost two days. The 3 Muslim students murdered have never made front and center at Huff Po. Discrimination even in death. So terribly wrong

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