IMJ Declares Chapel Hill Shooting a Hate Crime and Calls for All to Stand Up Against Injustice

In the name of Allah, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy…

Muslim communities across America find themselves in crisis after the hateful murder of Deah Barakat and Yusor and Razan Abu-Salha in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Tuesday, February 10.

Their beautiful lives of Islam and service were ended in martyrdom by a neighbor, a white “anti-theist,” a gun-toting liberal, in an execution-style triple murder that he then claimed was over a parking space. No matter what the lawyers decide, we declare this a crime of hate and bigotry, and seek not only justice against the murderer but also against the forces in society that demonize and persecute Muslims in America and around the world. We also mourn the murder of Mustafa Mattan in Alberta last week, and the December murder of Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein in Kansas City whose deaths also stem from these same forces.

The US-led global wars on terror, on drugs, and on democratically elected leaders – at once depend on and reinforce public perceptions of Muslims as foreign enemies and enemies within. Too many in politics and media actively promote and profit from the dehumanization of Muslims. Fourteen years of war on Muslims (alongside less public interventions across Central and South America, Africa and Asia): assassination, torture, indefinite captivity, entrapment and provocation, warrantless surveillance are now supported by both major American political parties and all major news networks, just as the Japanese-American concentration camps and chattel enslavement of Africans were good business not so long ago.

We can and will pursue justice against oppressors for people suffering and struggling here and around the world, but we also must take responsibility and repent. It is the inability of Muslims to resist and assert our moral leadership that has allowed this conflict to escalate so far: four Muslims murdered in a week in North America, a Houston Islamic school building burned down in an arson, and rising numbers attacks and threats targeting vigil gatherings mourning the deaths of the Chapel Hill 3. Our silence is our complicity. Our weakness will be our ruin.

Muslims and other Americans have a common enemy in the American imperialist elite, those who profit from war and corruption. We natural allies must unite on truth and justice, on principles of human rights that transcend sectarian differences. We must organize and take action by educating and serving the people, and resisting oppression wherever we find it.

American Muslim immigrants and their children can no longer ignore the struggle that is required of us, and join and continue with the struggle that our Muslim ancestors in this country have already begun. This is not only for our own survival and flourishing but for the dignity of all human beings with whom we would happily share our love and land. We declare our intention to accept the prophetic mission of service and struggle, in the name of God and in honor of our martyrs.