by audreylegault on February 24, 2015 - 12:31am
Ever since America declared war against the Middle East, a lot of prejudice and hate have ensued throughout the country, and even the world. Islamophobia is getting more and more important in a lot of industrialized countries because of the recent events in France and in the United States. The world isn’t living the backlashes of these recent events the same way. In order to prove my point, I will be focusing on the Chapel Hill Shooting in America, and the following consequences in America and Quebec.
In the article “In chapel Hill Shooting of 3 Muslims, a Question of Motive” by The New York times, the events of February 10th 2015 are portrayed. Three young university students were murdered. They were all Muslims of Arab descent, outstanding students and active members of their community. Two were a newlywed couple and the other was the wife’s sister. Whether the crime committed is classified as a hate crime or a murder is still a mystery. Chapel Hill’s police department seems to be inclined towards a dispute over a parking space gone wrong. However, the parents of the victims are adamant that this is a clear example of hate crime. One of neighbors overheard the shooting describing the events as “multiple, between five and 10” gunshots and “kids screaming”. People who knew the victims cannot fathom the idea that this was a simple dispute. The culprit, Craig Stephen Hicks did show hatred towards any form of religion.
Even though this event is currently not considered as a hate crime, it is evident that a lot of people interpreted it as so. On various social media platforms, the hashtag “muslimlivesmatter” has taken a lot of popularity. The events have stricken fear in the Muslim community, afraid that others will join the Islamophobic movement that also seems to be gaining importance in America.
Furthermore, the consequences in America following these events were widely violent and disturbing. In the article “Fears Rife within American Muslim Community after Chapel Hill Shooting”, in the journal Aljazeera American, the events following said shooting are described. Muslims have been the target to a variety of violent acts. For example, two bomb threats were directed at the North Austin Muslim Community Center. Anti-Muslim graffiti have also been found on public properties like an Islamic school. A number of studies focusing on this recent issue have shown disturbing results. For example, The Lifeway study “found that 27 percent of Americans believe ISIL reflects the true nature of Islam, while only 43 percent believe Islam can create a peaceful society”.
Most of these events are currently being investigated as whether or not they were hate crime. However, it is not quite a stretch to believe that they were driven by spiteful people that did not hold any kind sentiments toward the Islamic community.
In Quebec, the recent act of vandalism on the windows of a Muslim High school has stricken distress among the students, teachers and parents, as well as the Quebec Muslim community. In the editorial “A Time for Solidarity” by the Montreal Gazette, the events surrounding the windows of said high school that were shot with what seemed to be a B.B. gun are related. Again, whether or not this was intended as a hate crime or not is unknown. Ever since the incident with Charlie Hebdo in Paris or the conflicts in the Middle East, a lot of Muslim citizens have been afraid of the backlashes that could occur. Furthermore, the Quebec Collective against Islamophobia has received 123 complaints of hateful acts since those events. The growth of the anti-Islamic movement is alarming. The fear is getting more and more concrete with all the hate crimes that are happening in America. One of those being the Chapel Hill Shooting.
Political leaders in Quebec and Canada are getting more anxious as to ensure there is no social tension, ignorance or intolerance that follows this wave of Islamophobia. They want to tamper down any kind of radicalism in society. Their approach towards preventing this kind of attitude is to urge the population into denouncing any actions that could be disrespectful or dangerous. Solidarity is widely encouraged. The value of community and camaraderie should not be compromised because of the actions of some.
Following these tragic events, Americans and Quebecers handled the backlashes differently. Even though there was some hostility towards the Muslim community in Quebec, the government did make a point of ensuring solidarity within the whole population. However, in America, the hostility towards the Islamic, Muslim, or Arab community has not stopped growing. Violent acts keep on being reported throughout the country and there seems to be no stop to them. In majority, the police departments did seem to attempt at reassuring the Islamic community by not labelling most of these crimes as hate-crimes. Even though the support from the government and police departments was weak, the global support on social networks was outstanding.
In other words, there seems to be quite a growth in the Islamophobic movement throughout the world. Nevertheless, there is a difference in the way different countries handled the events that followed the recent act of Islamophobia in Chapel Hill. In Quebec, the government got involved with the population in order to promote peace. In America, the lack of support from the police department and government encouraged the worldwide community to show their support. While there is violence caused by Muslims in the world, it is important to remember that only a small fraction of them is responsible for the wrong done in the world. One should not forget that terrorists are not only Muslims, some are Catholics like the Ku Klux Klan. The main difference between those two religious groups is only the lack of violence targeting Catholics.
(1) "Editorial: A Time for Solidarity." Montreal Gazette. Postmedia, 11 Feb. 2015. Web. 23 Feb.
(2) Jonathan. "In Chapel Hill Shooting of 3 Muslims, a Question of Motive." The New York
Times. The New York Times, 11 Feb. 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/12/us/muslim-student-shootings-north-caro....
(3) Zahriyeh, Ehab. "Fears Rife within American Muslim Community after Chapel Hill
Shootings | Al Jazeera America." Fear among American Muslims Intensifies. Al Jazeera America, 17 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/2/17/threats-to-muslim-americ....