Raise Awareness, Don’t Be Silent: Chapel Hill Tragedy

I am a Muslim woman of Afghan descent. Last night, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were brutality murdered by Craig Stephen Hicks, a 46 year old white male because of their faith and their religion.

Islam has relentlessly been bashed over and over again. It seems like no matter how many times I remind people that an individual terrorist act does not define an entire religion, it will never truly get across to them. Even if I bring up the fact that 2,976 people died on 9/11 and 2,500,000 people died in wars justified by 9/11, it is never enough.

This is to all of you who believe everything you hear on the news. This is to those who think that all Muslims are terrorists. This is to those who want the entire religion of Islam abolished.

You don’t know what it is like to see the look of fear in your mother’s eyes every time you leave the house. When she holds on to you tightly and blows prayers towards you for protection; always with an ounce of dread that she’ll never hold you again.

You don’t know what it is like having best friends and family members who wear head scarves and worrying about their safety against hate crimes, especially after something like this happens.

You don’t know what it is like to be spit on for years after 9/11 because of your name, your skin, the color of your hair or the scarf around your head.

You don’t know what it is like to have your little brothers ask if people at school are going to hate them because they’re Muslim.

You don’t know what it is like to have to justify yourself or defend your religion over and over again to people who refuse to see the good in it.

You don’t know what it is like to be forced into a stereotype you have absolutely no contribution in, such as: terrorism, violence and hate.

You will never know what it is like to be living in constant fear that some 46 year old, white man will come knocking on your door to greet you and your loved ones with a bullet.

I am a Muslim woman of Afghan descent, but I’m also a student and a feminist. I love photography, music, film and literature. I am my own singular person who believes in Islam. Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were all just regular people, indulging in life’s beauty and doing amazing things. Deah and Yusor had gotten married 6 weeks ago. They were all students who had just began to accomplish their goals and start new chapters.

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Don’t you dare stereotype  Deah, Yusor, Razan, or  any other Muslim into the horrific category the media has built around hate and fear.  Don’t you dare try to ignore this tragic situation, don’t you dare belittle what has happened.

My heart is so incredibly heavy for the parents and family of these beautiful people. My prayers and love go out to all of you.

Be kind to one another and spread nothing but love and acceptance. Protect your friends of color, friends of different backgrounds and religions, stand up for them and fight for justice. I am disgusted over the cruelties people offer in this world,  it is up to us to make it a more bearable and safe place.

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