Shafi Khan, a self-described friend of the Muslim students shot dead Tuesday in North Carolina, specifically blamed Fox News, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Oklahoma state Rep. John Bennett for what he called the “dehumanization of Muslims.”
“Speaking as an American Muslim, I can tell you that we can’t deny there’s a sentiment in the community that we feel that we were being targeted for our faith,” Mr. Khan, a North Carolina native who co-founded United Muslim Relief, told CNN. “There is certain sections of the media and political apparatus that are constantly dehumanizing Muslims. And I want to take a minute and ask people like Fox News and Bobby Jindal to stop the dehumanization of Muslims. It’s really, really starting to take a toll.”
Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder after turning himself in to Chapel Hill authorities for the shooting deaths of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.
Police are trying to determine whether hate played any role in the shooting. They said they believed the shooting was the result of a long-standing argument over parking spaces at the condominium complex where Barakat lived.
“Last month an elected official named John Bennett … said Islam is a cancer that needs to be cut out of society,” Mr. Khan said of the Oklahoma state congressman. “And the Republican Party establishment came out and made a point to say that we stand by him. These people need to reflect sincerely about what they’re doing to the social cohesion of this country. Imagine if someone had said that about the Jewish community.
“The important point is that black lives matter, white lives matter, Muslim lives matter, all lives matter. We have to start putting this point across to the community,” he said.