More than once since yesterday, I have started a post on the three Muslim students killed in North Carolina: Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, age 21, her husband, 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, age 19.
I mourn for their lives and feel grief and sorrow at our xenophobic, hate-filled country.
When looking up their names, I began to Google “Muslims killed in NC.” As soon as I got to “Muslims kill” Google autofilled the phrase to “Muslims killing Christians.”
And that, my friends, starkly illustrates the problem:
Our thoughts go too quickly toward such the demonization of that which we see as “Other”. We dehumanize our brothers, sisters, and siblings. We spit on or harass one another. We send in troops, and drop bombs from the sky. More and more of us end up cast out, alienated, or, like this young family, dead.
Today I pray that we learn, to quote Assata Shakur, that we must “love each other and support each other.”
Until then, we are not free.
How do we learn? By shifting our faces toward love. By being reminders to one another, in speech and action, that hatred diminishes us all.
We learn practicing as often as we can.
Edit: You may wish to read this account from Yusor’s best friend, Amira Ata: