By: Dareen El-Sayed

On Tuesday, Feb. 10, three young Muslims were killed in their home and it took the mass media twelve hours to report the horrible incident. It is upsetting that major news outlets have no problem with immediately associating and using terms such as “terrorist” and “terrorism” when the perpetrator is Muslim, but are so slow to even report the attack when the victims are Muslim.

On Tuesday, Deah Shaddy Barakat (23 years), his wife Yusor Mohammed Abu-Salha (21 years), and her sister Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha (19 years), were shot by Craig Stephen Hicks in their apartment in North Carolina. The brutal incident brings grief to us all, as we realize that these three university students were going on and about their daily lives just like you and I. Deah was studying dentistry, and his wife, Yusor, was to join him next September after also being accepted into Dentistry at North Carolina State University. Razan, the younger sister was a talented young artist in her first year studying architecture. Sadly, the lives of three beautiful individuals were taken because of a hate crime. This crime is painful not only due to its ruthless nature, but also due to the way the media have reported it.

Related: McMaster students hold vigil for Chapel Hill shooting victims

In addition to taking 12 hours to report it, major media outlets failed to do the tragedy justice. What was clearly a hate crime is being framed as a dispute over a parking space. It is sickening that corporate media is attempting to label this abhorrent crime as merely a parking dispute. However, if it were not for the way Muslims in the West have been portrayed by the media, maybe hate crimes like this would not be on the rise.

For any crime a Muslim individual commits, for any attack, whether it happens in North America, the Middle East or anywhere else around the world, it is most certainly and immediately labelled as a terrorist attack. There is no doubt that if the faith of a perpetrator is revealed to be Muslim the media portrays them as a terrorist. Following these claims by the media, Muslims around the world must apologize and rid their religion of such disturbing acts. But one must ask, why is it that when a crime is committed by a non-Muslim their religious views are not associated with the crime as well? Had the gunman, Craig Stephen Hicks, been a bearded man, had his name been Mohamed or Ahmed, I can assure you the media would have reacted in a completely different manner, and the word terrorist would not have been questionable. It is this dichotomy that only further proves the double standard present in our media today. We need to realize that the way Muslims are portrayed in the media has grave consequences. The constant instilling of the fear of Muslims into society, the constant association of terror and Islam, the ongoing pointing of fingers will only lead to the ostracizing of Muslims, to the rise of crimes just like this one.

Terrorism is faithless. Craig Stephen Hicks acted in a way meant to instill fear into a certain group of people through the killing of Deah, Yusor and Razan. Call it a hate crime. Call it what it is.

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