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#ChapelHillShooting: The Media Complicity in the Murder of Muslim Student


The Media Complicity in the Murder of Muslim Student #MuslimLivesMatter

In North Carolina, US, on the 10th of February 2015, three young Muslim students were shot by their white, atheist neighbour, Craig Stephen Hicks, in the head.

The killings are symptoms of the tenebrific propaganda which has been relentlessly lightening the blood of Muslims over the decade. The impact of it is such that the usually fleet-footed media which pulls no punches in dropping “extremists”, “terrorists” and “radicals” into their rapid-fire reports, lumbered slowly into motion a day or so after the killing. As noted by a writer in the Independent, only a few media outlets were actually covering the issue. Even the BBC picked up on this media insouciance with a piece asking the question, Was the murder of three students in the US given enough media coverage? As though BBC is actually acknowledging the initial lack of coverage, the readers are kindly informed that,

“The case has now been covered by both local and international media.”

Thank you Beeb. Muslims feel equal once more.

What eventually countered the anti-Muslim inertia of the media juggernaut was the social sphere: Twitter and Facebook users forced the media to stand up and report.

Yet when it was picked up, the bias, in comparison to the way Muslims are treated, surfaced. The Daily Fail for instance disgustingly barely covered the reporting, with the top of its website deeming the sacking of train worker and complaints about movie renditions of erotica, more important than the pitted, bullet-ridden skulls of Muslims.

And yes, amongst the various reports in Britain and across the pond, no epithets of “extremist”, “radical”, or “terrorist” were used to describe the perpetrator in anyway.  These are sole preserves of the media for the Islamic faith. The content of the reporting took the paradigm of a “hate crime” motive in the initial reports, whilst the comment sections contained the usual, “let’s not jump to conclusions” themes, something which is only remembered when a Muslim is killed by non-Muslim hands.

I wanted to see how this discourse would shift, and how quickly the major media corps would try to deflect from this motive. At around midday yesterday, I started to analyse the reports. At approximately 3:30pm a relatively unknown paper reported that the police were now looking into disputation involving parking as one of the key aspects which may have triggered the atheist going on a terror spree. One of the first media corps which picked it up was the neocons’ favourite Fox News, who assertively stated that it was the parking disputation, and not hate which was the motive. Unfortunately, the link has now updated its content so the negation element has now been removed.

However the speed with which this was reported and then percolated to other papers was interesting to see. There was none of the lethargy first experienced in actually reporting the act of “terrorism”. The “parking motive” over the day became the dominant reason as the day, and the reports progressed in their updates.

Later on in the day reports from (US) local papers began to surface that the father had claimed it was indeed a hate crime based on the Muslim identity of the murdered. There was animosity towards the deceased which was based on their religion and culture and which had manifested itself through previous threats with a gun, and now through the cold-blooded manner in which the victims were shot (i.e. all three in the head).

As I write this, reports are now again deflecting the “hate motive” by citing the typical get-clause for white terrorists: mental health issues. Quite.

Applying Muslim Standards Equally

Regardless of motive, what is established is that Craig Stephen Hicks was “radicalised”, as evident through his Facebook posts. His militant extremist “new atheism” found fuel in the writings of anti-Muslims, Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins and the words of Stephen Fry.

Note, that if a Muslim had killed three atheists, even if the motive of hate was tenuous, the Muslim quality would be sufficient to warrant blame, first upon the Muslim, and then the faith of Islam. This is a typical media mechanism which is employed almost every time an incident occurs.

Using this strawman mechanism, atheism can be blamed also.  Hicks’ hatred of religion, which was fuelled by anti-religionist, extremist ideologues, is what fuelled his anger born from an argument which ended in a tragedy. Perhaps there was something within his atheism itself which allowed this sickening act to take place. Perhaps he considered himself as genetically superior to the Arabs and therefore dehumanised them enough for him to puncture bullets through their heads; or perhaps it is the amorality of atheism, which resulted in him killing three Muslims over a parking ticket; or maybe it is was the combination of all these tropes which led to his murder. How about race? We know Hicks was an ardent gun advocate. Maybe white people in America have a greater affinity with guns because they feel their white power structure is being threatened by non-whites.

I am fully expecting national debates in Western countries on the integration of whites and/or atheists. Here in the UK, I envisage Nicky Campbell ensuring questions are asked on his BBC Big Questions programme whether new atheist extremism is fomenting intolerance of people of religion, and why there is so much media inactivity, unless forced, with “white on Muslim” far-right/atheist crime, yet so much frenetic, detailed coverage when the converse occurs.

Perhaps a counter-extremism policy which discriminately targets white atheists needs to be formulated off the back of this terrorism. The policy, like the Stasi-state creating PREVENT Strategy would need to target the “extremists” who inspire such terrorist atheism, blocking channels of radicalisation by “disrupting” people like Richard Dawkins, who was cited attacking religion by the killer before the killing.

Moreover, atheists must now remain in a perpetual state of apology for the vicious crime committed by their ideological comrade. When they do come out and apologise, they must be told that they “need to do more” because they have a “special burden”. The heads of Western states should travel to the US, lock arms with Muslims and parade through North Carolina University, as a show of solidarity with the freedom of religion, and freedom from atheist terrorism.

Concluding Remarks

As I write, not a single Western state official has hit the podium to pour out commiserations to the Muslim community, as was done to the French and the Jewish community during the French attacks.

No. Not even Barack Obama has condemned the attack. The emphasis of Western states, in particular the UK which is in the grip of deceitful neoconservatism, has always been on speaking against “Islamist extremism” and “Islamist terrorism”, not for Muslims, unless of course those Muslims are undermining the Muslim minority.

The media bias is having devastating consequences. How many papers/news corps, for instance, have reported the shocking treatment of a nine year-old Muslim boy who had his head smashed on the floor by a Swedish security guard? None. Were it not for the social media outrage at the lack of initial coverage of the massacre, the news of this terrorism would have remained suppressed, or perhaps confined to the lower, less visible areas of news websites.

With round the clock propaganda against Muslims, and disproportionate, negative coverage aired by the likes of Fox News, whose “experts” lie to whip up anti-Muslim hysteria, or even British journalists such as Cathy Newmam, who also lied to perhaps move up the lucrative Islamophobia-industry, the media machine is complicit in the deaths of these Muslims, by creating an atmosphere where Muslims and Islam are perpetually architected as the enemy. Media outlets like Fox News, the Spectator, Daily Fail and other right-wing/neocon papers are complicit in the deaths of Nahid Almanea, who was beaten and stabbed to death in Britain; they are complicit in the death of Mohammed Saleem, an old man returning from prayers who was also stabbed to death; they are complicit in the tearing off of hijabs and niqabs from heads of Muslim women in the streets of Europe; they are complicit in fostering the hatred which is requisite in creating the primordial atmosphere of Nazi Germany. As long as this complicity continues, there will be more fatal attacks against Muslims.


Notes: This article was originally posted on

About ʿAbd Allāh Nūr al-Dīn

A concerned Muslim with an interest in international law, domestic and foreign policy, history and contemporary ideologies and thinking such as neoconservatism and secularism and their impact on society and in particular Islam and Muslims.


  1. I’m sure Craig Hicks is one of those lunatics who had been inspired by the movie American Sniper to kill Muslims. Just like the one who tweeted: “If American Sniper doesn’t make you wanna go kill some towel headed goat lovers I don’t know what will.”

  2. Well… unfortunately this is hypocrisy of the media. Why would the media be so anti-Muslim? Oh I forgot, the main media isn’t muslim. We Muslims need to get our act together and inshallah by the grace of Allah, one day we will be able to be in control of the media, and show the world Islamic fairness and justice. We Muslims must be more proactive and DO something, not just play victim and moan about these injustices whilst sitting lazily on our sofas. Allah will help us if we help ourselves by putting in effort and dua. Try and encourage Muslims to go into journalism, get them into jobs working with media groups, let the young have university debates without losing their cool. We Muslims see the hypocrisy but can’t or won’t do much about it. Lets wake up and stand up to the injustice, and may those who were killed go to janna, and may Allah help their families. Thank you for this article, we can all comment on various newspapers and through twitter and Facebook, and when making a complaint, dear Muslims, stay calm, Allah knows and is seeing their injustice.

  3. Until we get a good and universally accepted definition of what one means by terrorism, we shouldn’t be using that term for any coverage. By my definition, an act done with the intention of causing fear which could be used as a weapon against others beyond the primary victim, this particular crime doesn’t fit the definition. So, I don’t blame the media for not using it. But, it does have all the markings of a hate-crime and shows once again the problems with the gun-loving culture of the USA. I don’t know about international media, but local and American media should have been all over this for those two reasons.

    Now, as for complicity. I believe that social media has done more than its fair share to stir up unrest and direct it at peaceful, hardworking Muslims making them guilty by association much more than anything I’ve seen in the mainstream American media (though I don’t watch FOX so that could be an exception). The use of the internet has divided people into camps listening to what they are already predisposed to hear and then being whipped further into an even bigger frenzy by shrill pitched bloggers pushing the envelope of reality and logic.

  4. Americans are so called civilised peoples while Pakistanis are so called backward peoples. What do you expect from Americans? They even slaughtered the native Indians and grabbed their land illegally.

    The West has never been at ease with Islam since the Crusades. It is unfortunate that huge oil supplies lie under the Arabian Deserts. It is the West that stirred the trouble that led to 9/11. That attack was a desperate act of by men prepared to lose their life. We need to get to grips on who is the terrorist? On 24 November 1963, Lyndon Johnson said, “the battle against communism… must be joined… with strength and determination. Some three million lives were lost in the consequential battles. The US had to pull out due to Public Opinion. Communism lived on. So who was the terrorist?

    Terrorism and sexual grooming is nothing to do with Masajid, Imams and Muslim schools. Those Muslim youths who have been involved in terrorism and sexual grooming are the product of western education system which makes a man stupid, selfish and corrupt. They find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage, literature and poetry. They suffer from identity crises and I blame British schooling.

  5. You are absolutely right to expose the western media outlets for their double standards and anti- Muslim agenda but to put it bluntly this is not enough and will not get us anywhere. We Muslims need to work together to develop our own agenda to confront and counter this massive threat, no one else will do it for us and no matter how loudly we shout against being unfairly discriminated against the status quo will not change. The media will not change its negative campaign and politicians will not make new laws to protect us unless and until we work hard to make this happen.

  6. I totally agree with the above article there are double standards here and have been so for a long time particularly towards Muslims. Muslims continue to be demonized every day. Yesterday I found out that this had happened via social media when my daughter sent me a report showing what had happened. I subsequently looked at the web only to find nothing on the Daily Mail, nothing in the BBC you had to look hard to find a small report on the incident which was reported as a parking issue related crime. Had this been a Muslim who had done this it would be Radical Muslim and headline news. I used to listen to LBC but not any more as the radio continually reports or has shows which incite hatred towards Muslims/Islam. I am constantly worried for my children on the streets of London. Enough is enough Media needs to be fair in their reports, it is getting exhausting and worrying!

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