The horrific crime in North Carolina last week shocked our community. Did anybody expect it? Not really, as we thought , may be by illusion, that in we are safe in the U.S.
Islamophobia is spreading in Europe. It has roots here, too. We did not expect that the words would translate to bullets so quickly, and the anger will shed blood, our blood.
The Arabs and Muslims communities in U.S. are composed of professional, successful, hard working individuals and families.
According to a Gallup poll, 40 percent of Muslims in U.S. have college degree, more than 10 percent the national average. Our communities have low crime rates, low suicide and homicide rates, and we are largely law-abiding citizens.
We do not just merely live in the U.S. as immigrant Arabs or Muslims, but we are fully American, without losing our identity or culture.
We share the American dream of prosperity in an atmosphere of justice, freedom, and equality. Then why would we be treated differently? Why are we now the targets of terrorism? Often times, somebody screams in our faces: go back to your country. What country? This is our country.
If bigots mean our parents or grandparents’ country, then they should go home, too– to Poland, Ireland, Germany, …or whatever country since we are all immigrants and colonizers, except the indigenous native Americans.
The first to blame is the media. The inflammatory remarks against Muslims. Linking all Muslims to terrorism that is done by small extremist groups, that does not represent us, delivers a message to the extremist right wing Americans that they should seek revenge from us.
The three young Muslim students, who were murdered for no reason, are dear to our hearts because they are the images of our sons and daughters who study hard, get married and look for a bright future, stable family and a successful careers.
They were living the American dream. But a terrorist American assassinated their dreams, giving us a nightmare instead.
Our national media kept repeating the nauseating story that the killing was over a dispute about a parking spot. Is this theory worth a discussion to start with . If every American kills three people because of a parking place dispute, then one fourth of all Americans will be in jail and the remaining three fourths will be in graves and the nation would be extinct in few years.
He killed them in an execution style, one bullet each in the head. He was prepared to do the job and not simply an outrage over where to park his car. His posts on social media uncover his hatred against religions, namely Islam.
Why then the media humiliate our intelligence about the silly parking dispute plot? Is it in the journalists teaching then that terrorism only stems from Muslims so when a white American does it, they have to search all the excuses in the world for another motive ?
What took place in North Carolina should not change they way we live. It should not fill our hearts with fear. It should not make us less proud about our culture, language or religion.
The only thing we should do differently is to be vigilant about any suspicious individuals and not to take any threats lightly, but to report it to the official law enforcement authorities.
One escape strategy that lawyers use for their defendants is their mental status. If they could prove that he is mentally sick, then he can avoid the punishment.
It seems that Arabs and Muslims are terrorists until proven otherwise, while white killers are mentally ill until proven otherwise.
-Dr. Daad Katato is a Palestinian American activist