These are days of sorrow. In the past 48 hours, we learned that American ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller was confirmed dead, and now, that three Muslim students were murdered in North Carolina. To the families, friends and communities now reeling from these senseless and horrific deaths, we send our condolences.
Kayla Mueller was targeted by ISIS because she was a woman, an American and not a follower of the Islamic State Caliphate. In Chapel Hill, NC, Craig Stephen Hicks was charged with the murder of three Muslim students – Deah Shaddy Barakat; his wife Yusor Abu-Salha; and Yusor’s sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. Though his actual motivation is still unclear, we do know that the victims are being acknowledged for their Muslim beliefs, and that Hicks has been accused of past anti-Islamic statements. So we know that he may have been driven by hate.
All too many are targeted because of who they are and these young women and man are only the latest victims. We all suffer because of their loss.
This is a time to be sad and to express our condolences. But it is also a time for caution. We must not allow our sorrow and anger over these horrific tragedies to be twisted into permission to judge or hurt others – instead we must honor the spirits and legacies of Deah, Yusor, Razan and Kayla – by respecting and honoring one another and our different ways of believing.
With hope for peace,
Joyce S. Dubensky