Three American Muslims have been shot dead in their home near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US on 11th February 2015.
Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21 and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19 all died in a tragic incident where 46 year old Craig Hicks had murdered them shooting a number of gun shots at Chapel Hill.
Where is the full on media coverage that we should expect to receive when a tragedy like this has occurred? Where are the protests, the standing united against terror attacks that we see on the news for these killings? Were they not innocent souls that have been taken unjustly? The fact of the matter is we need more balanced reporting whether the victims are Muslims, Christians, Jews or any other religion.
Social Media users on Twitter have been using the hashtags #ChapelHillShooting and #MuslimLivesMatter to express their grief as well as their frustration and anger at the lack of coverage of the story within the Western media.
The murderer Craig Hicks has reported to have handed himself in to the police after the triple shooting of the three victims. The motive of the crime is yet to be confirmed but it is believed that it could have been religiously motivated. In one post on Facebook allegedly written by Hicks and shared by CNN, he wrote: 'When it comes to insults, your religion started this, not me. If your religion kept its big mouth shut, so would I.'
One of the Muslims that had been killed, Mr Barakat, was reported to have been planning to travel to Turkey in the summer to treat children who have become refugees following the civil war.
Last month, he had tweeted: 'It's so freaking sad to hear people saying we should "kill Jews" or "Kill Palestinians". As if that's going to solve anything SMH [shaking my head].'
What saddens me is that these three beautiful souls were doing good work; Barakat was a second-year student at its dentistry school. His wife was planning on starting there in the summer and her sister was a student at North Carolina State University. They both were involved with charitable work, such as raising money for Syrian refugees and their family cannot comprehend the tragedy that has occurred.
There have been countless calls for further action with the attack alleged to be religiously motivated.
Whenever a terrorist or violent attack occurs, I always believe that people's religious or personal beliefs should not be brought up. I detest when there are killings being done that have nothing to do with religion but yet the mainstream media describe terrorists as 'Islamist' or 'Islamic' so easily. When the victims are Muslims why is the mainstream media using double standards. The perpetrator in question is said to be a follower of Athiests for Equality however I feel that the mainstream media need to stop focusing on irrelevant issues such as whether he was an Athiest or not and report the crime for what it was, an act of terror inciting murder against three innocent Muslim victims.
If the attack was a deliberate religious murder, as it is perceived to be because Hicks disliked Muslims, then again we need to readdress the issue of mainstream media reporting and raise awareness of Islamophobia. Many people that view negative representations of Muslims in the media have built up ignorance within themselves and have not taken the time to understand what Islam truly is.
The sad truth is that Islamophobia is real and it is rising. I have experienced verbal abuse from an Islamophobe myself, following the recent terror attacks and there have been several accounts of physical and verbal abuse against Muslims around the world. The mainstream media needs to take a level of responsibility in reporting and so does high profile individuals whose words have influence over others.
#MuslimLivesMatter the hashtag that is trending to make a statement to the media that more coverage is needed is one that I will be retweeting with the hope that fair reporting will soon come into play. Muslims lives do matter but so do the lives of people from all faiths and backgrounds which makes it even more important that we raise this issue for humanity's sake and stand united against religiously motivated attacks, racially motivated attacks and any other evils that occur in the world.