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Chapel Hill Victim Sister: ‘Open Season’ on Muslims, In Part Due to ‘American Sniper’

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Suzanne Barakat, the sister of Deah Barakat, one of the victims of the Chapel Hill shooting said that there was “open season” against Muslims and placed part of the blame on the movie “American Sniper” on Friday’s broadcast of “The Lead” on CNN.

“The day of the murders, an assemblywoman from the state I live in used the hashtag “stand up against Islam” and it’s currently an open season, a time where it’s an open season against Islam, Muslims in Washington, Muslims in the general media dehumanizing Muslims in movies like ‘American Sniper,’ it’s incredibly inspiring right now to see that Deah, Yusor, and Razan’s love for their country is being reciprocated” she stated.

and you know, i don’t know in hindsight if they should have done things differently, but they were trying to, you know, the advice that yusor’s mom gave was be kind to him because that’s what we’re taught in Islam is be kind to your neighbors and maybe with kindness, he can turn around. of course, none of us ever imagined that this would be the result of those kinds of threats.

Barakat disagreed with reports that the murders were caused by a dispute over a parking spot, saying “there have been more than one instances in which he [Craig Hicks] has approached Deah, Yusor, Yusor’s mom.” And “on the day of the murders, the parking spot that was ‘disputed’ had no parking — no car in it. I wondered maybe was it Razan, who was visiting her sister, to keep her company had maybe parked in that spot and that triggered it. No. They all knew not to park in this disputed visitors’ parking spot. And by disputed, I mean the one that the neighbor claimed belonged to his wife and had been cleared by the apartment complex agency as open and free to all. And despite that, they did not use it. So this was not a parking dispute.” She added that while she had not personally been harassed by Hicks, she knew of a former roommate of the three that had.

She also criticized media coverage of the killings, arguing “had roles been reversed, and no one is talking about this, but had roles been reversed and the man was Muslim, was of Arab descent, was of South Asian descent, this would have immediately been labeled an act of terror. I haven’t heard anyone use the term ‘terrorist’ here but it– why the double standard? He has terrorized our families, he has terrorized our lives, he has terrorized our community, locally, nationally, and internationally and it’s time that people call it for what it is.”

Barakat concluded “justice means making sure that this never happens again, making sure that Muslims are respected, are protected, are cared for, and are not left to live in fear. I was speaking with my husband and wondering how are we going to raise children in this country if we are afraid for their safety and for their lives because of the ignorance and because of the biased — we want to make sure that what comes out of this is awareness, is a spread of love. We are not seeking to — punishment is not the goal here. It is absolutely not the goal. We want everyone in solidarity, globally, to make sure that we all unite as humanity. Honor their lives and their legacy. We want to further the things that they were passionate about through dedication to service, through dedication to the homeless populations, to refugees abroad. These are the things we want to focus on, and we want to gather all of this energy and momentum right now and make sure that we are serving that purpose.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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