A parking dispute. That’s what the news blamed for the execution-style murder of three young Muslims. Yes, a parking dispute. And that was after major news outlets had initially refused to cover the Chapel Hill Shooting. Upon learning of the tragic loss from my brothers, I asked myself: Why are Muslims only newsworthy when they are behind a gun and not in front of one? Why is Islam always associated with terrorists and extremists when Islam in fact condemns violence? The media continuously reports the numerous acts of terror yet fails to draw lines of distinction between Islam and terrorism. So-called Muslims behind the gun are labeled extremists and terrorists, while all other murderers are labeled crazed and mentally unstable. America is home to two million American Muslims, yet America still needs to adjust to respect its growing Muslim population.
In the realm of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, which distorts and misrepresents Islam, Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha were exemplary Muslim students who strived to represent their faith. Not only did they excel in their studies and pursue higher degrees, but Deah, Yusor and Razan were also committed to charity work. A dental student; Deah donated dental supplies to the local homeless and planned to treat Syrian refugees abroad while Yusor volunteered her time with organizations such as Global Deaf Muslim. The victims’ funeral attracted more than 5,500 Americans nationwide, revealing the widespread support from the American Muslim population. Months after the act of terror, police have yet to acknowledge that the triple murder was the epitome of hate and continue to investigate the incident as a parking dispute.
As ISIS continues to make American headlines daily as a terrible representation of Islam, renown Muslim scholars have denounced the terror organization. Joining ISIS has been concluded as a great sin for any Muslim and thus Islam and ISIS are not conjoined. A Syrian scholar, Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi, recently spoke with a local mosque, Noor Islamic Cultural Center, about his views on the terrorist group, encouraging Muslims to condemn all terror groups.
“We should not grant them this honor of acknowledging that they are Muslim,” Al-Yaqoubi said via Skype. “They are not.”
Although President Obama has clarified that the West is not at war with Islam through his summit on countering violent extremism, news coverages may have distorted reality. Media outlets should continue to cover ISIS but refrain from diverging the terrorist organization as an equivalent to Islamic principles and perhaps consider justly covering the tragedies of American Muslims in front of guns.