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Friday, September 21, 2018

Opinion

Muslim lives don’t matter to some


A prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for Craig Hicks, who allegedly killed three students on Feb. 10. If Hicks did shoot three young people for no justifiable reasons, then the death penalty is the best course of action. He would have to have complete disregard for the lives of these people, and anyone who commits such an act should be given the same disregard.

“Police have said Hicks, 46, appeared to have been motivated by a long-running dispute over parking spaces,” according to the Huffington Post.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Hicks shot 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat several times before he heard screams coming from inside. Hicks then entered the residence and shot Barakat’s wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 22, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. The two women were not killed immediately.

“They were alive after the first volley,” said Assistant District Attorney James Dornfried, the prosecutor. “Each one of these women was then shot in the head.”

“The defendant then started exiting the apartment and shot Deah Barakat a final time.”

Family and friends of the victims believed that they were murdered due to their Muslim religious background.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Barakat’s brother, Farris Barakat, and his friend, Imad Ahmad, said that Hicks’ anger increased when the Abu-Salha girls — who wore head scarves — came to live at Barkat’s apartment.

“Yusor told me he said, ‘I don’t like the way you look,’” Ahmad said.

The mother of the two sisters was even confronted by Hicks in early January when she parked in front of Hicks’ apartment while delivering a wedding dress.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “the decision came after the case received worldwide attention, propelled by a social media campaign tagged #muslimlivesmatter.” Soon after the incident, the FBI began an investigation to determine whether the shooting counted as a hate crime.

It’s not hard to believe that there is prejudice behind this situation. The response he had to the Abu-Salha sisters moving into the apartment and his comment to their mother further proves this.

But according the the Los Angeles Times, Hicks’ wife, Karen Hicks, is adamant that the shooting was not a result of religious hatred.

“He believes everyone is equal,” she said a day after the shooting.

“It doesn’t matter what a person looks like. I can say that it is my absolute belief that this incident had nothing to do with religion or the victims’ faith, but in fact was related to long-standing parking disputes my husband had with various neighbors, regardless of their race, religion or creed.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, neighbors of the Finley Forest complex — in which the Hicks and the victims resided — said that Hicks was known for angrily confronting residents and visitors about parking and noise. A police warrant found that Hicks “kept pictures and detailed notes on parking activity,” and was known to call a towing company to remove cars parked in spots he said were reserved for himself and his wife.

“He had equal-opportunity anger toward all the residents,” said Sarah Maness, a neighbor of Hicks’.

Ultimately, it does not matter what his cause for allegedly killing these three individuals was. The only thing that matters is that three innocent people lost their lives for no apparent reason.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Barakat was a dental student at the University of North Carolina, where his wife was to join in the fall. The younger Abu-Salha sister was a student at the design school of North Carolina State University in Raleigh. These were people with hopes and dreams for the futures, whose lives were taken far too soon.

This is what the judge and jury needs to keep in mind when determining Hicks’ sentence. They need to honor the victims.

However, the fact that this case is garnering so much attention is a positive fact. More often than not, crimes toward members of the Muslim community go ignored and unmentioned.

Since 9/11, the Muslim members of Western society have had to deal with negative backlash, prejudiced behavior and discrimination. The #muslimlivesmatter campaign, along with the FBI’s investigation, is refreshing; this society is rallying around the victims and not letting their death be in vain.

Opinion columnist Trishna Buch is a print journalism senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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