Chapel Hill Shooting: Update

[Content Note: Terrorism; guns; death; Islamophobia; anti-religiousness.]

Background here.

So, as you have probably seen, because it is fucking inescapable, lots of people are very insistent on disappearing any racial and/or religious motivation for Craig Stephen Hicks killing Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. It's all just a parking dispute!

The "parking dispute" refrain is absolutely incredible and absurd: My pal Ashon Crawley pointed to a video posted on Facebook by Fatima Rahimi of Inside Edition doing a segment that is utterly jawdropping: "—shooting over, of all things, police say, a parking space. Three college students are dead; their neighbor has been charged. Now, initially, some said it was a hate crime, but police say the dispute was over parking at the apartment complex. Now, finding a parking space is one of those things that can push some people over the edge, but there is a way to always find a spot at the mall." Segue to a piece on finding parking. Seriously.

Yesterday afternoon in comments, Shaker Timberwraith linked an article in which the two women's father, Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, was quoted as saying the "parking dispute" claim hardly tells the whole story:
"This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime. This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt. And they were uncomfortable with him, but they did not know he would go this far."
And today, Dr. Abu-Salha told the crowd gathered ahead of his daughters' burial "that he wants federal authorities to investigate the shooting as a hate crime."
Chapel Hill police said their initial investigation indicated that the shooting grew out of a simmering dispute over a parking space with the alleged killer, Craig Stephen Hicks, but they were also exploring the possibility that it was a hate crime and had asked the FBI for help. Federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of North Carolina are monitoring the local investigation.

Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, the father of the two slain women, spoke before thousands of people gathered at a prayer service in Raleigh. He urged the federal government to get involved to determining what motivated the shooting.

"I call on the president of the United States, Barack Obama, and the U.S. [Department of Justice] and law enforcement: Please involve the FBI. Please investigate. Please look carefully. I have talked to lawyers, I have talked to law professors—this has hate crime written all over it," Abu-Salha said.

...He insisted that the shooting did not arise out of a parking dispute. "We don't want revenge. We don't care about punishment. We care about acknowledging this the way it is and protecting every other child—black or white, comes from Asia or Arabia or wherever they come from," he said. "I trust law enforcement and the government to do their duty."
I hope law enforcement appreciates what that trust means, and honors it. But this is not reassuring:
Ripley Rand, the U.S. prosecutor for the Middle District, which includes Chapel Hill and Durham, said...that from the early details of the Chapel Hill investigation, he did not think the killings were part of a targeted campaign against Muslims.

"This appears at this time to be an isolated incident," Rand said.
So what. Something does not have to be "part of a targeted campaign" to be a hate crime. And it beggars belief that anyone can say with a straight face that the murder of Muslims by someone who hated Muslims is "an isolated incident." Sure. Everything happens in a vacuum. Culture doesn't exist.

Until the next time we want to talk about Muslims as a faceless monolith, of course.

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