Race, Social Justice

Why is the Muslim immigrant community so selective about mourning Black lives?

So, why the silence? Where are the candle light vigils and Facebook statuses? 

Three young black Muslim men were shot dead execution style, with “multiple” bullet wounds, in an Indiana home five days ago.

They were Mohamedtaha Omar, 23, Adam Mekki, 20, and Muhannad Taha, 17.

A little over one year ago to the date, Yusor Abu-Salha, Deah Barakat, and Rayan Abu-Salha were shot dead in their home, eerily almost the same exact way, by what we soon learned was a hate and xenophobia motivated attack.

The ever-growing openness of hate mongering and xenophobia in the West is no secret to the rest of the world, much less the Muslim community. Whether it’s you-know-who suggesting we should kill them “with bullets dipped in pig’s blood” or suggesting a ban on Muslims, the community has become well accustomed to the frankness with which the radical right frames its conversation. The question moments after a Muslim American’s life is brutally lost is much less a question of whether or not it was a hate crime, but rather when the media, the investigators and essentially the rest of the world will recognize it publicly as a hate crime.

Why then, days after the Fort Wayne attacks, was there a silence around the deaths of three young men within the Muslim community?

Following their tragic deaths, officials attempted and miserably failed to link the tragic deaths to gang-related incidents yet the Muslim community sipped the Kool-Aid until we could know for certain it wasn’t gang related. And now that we know, as if we didn’t already know all along, I can still hear the crickets chirping. I recognized this silence from when news (barely) broke last year about 15-year-old Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein of the Somali Muslim community of Kansas City, who was killed in a hate-motivated hit-and-run just outside of his local masjid.

So, why the silence? Where are the candlelight vigils and Facebook statuses? Where are the prayers in masjids and the mass MSA emails?

I will be the Muslim to say this: three young black Muslim men shot execution style on private property five days ago hasn’t even received a fraction of the attention that the Chapel Hill victim’s received moments after their deaths. I will be that Muslim to say that when our black brothers and sisters are victims of xenophobic brutality the non-black Muslim community looks away.

Selective mourning is not a good look on us.

Anti-Blackness in the Muslim community is very much alive and very much real. We push our Black brothers and sisters to the fringes of our communities, be it socially, politically or even economically. And even in death, we add that extra level of marginalization.

Even in death, we do not respect our own Black bodies in the way that we respect our own Arab, Desi, white, Asian, non-Black bodies. We decide who from amongst us is deserving of mourning and to what extent we allow those souls the liberty of dignity and public infuriation over their loss.