Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hoodies and Hijabs

Do they have anything in common? No, other than being pieces of clothing covering one's head. But some are trying to tie the Trayvon Martin story with another one out west--the death of an Iraqi woman severely bludgeoned with a tire iron several days ago in her home in El Cajon, California. Alongside her body was found a note calling her a terrorist and telling her (them) to return to the Middle East. Many are screaming that it's another 'hate crime'.

Indeed, a CNN report seems to find a common thread:
But social media users quickly compared Alawadi's death to that of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, calling both hate crimes, and drawing a parallel between a hijab and a hoodie.

Martin was killed last month as he walked back to his father's fiancee's house in Sanford, Florida, after a trip to the convenience store. Police say he was shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who said he was acting in self-defense and has not been charged.

The teen was unarmed, carrying a bag of Skittles candy and an iced tea, and was wearing a hoodie. On Sunday morning, the authors of the parenting blog, Momstrology, tweeted: "A teen murdered for wearing hooded sweater. An Iraqi woman beaten to death for wearing a head scarf. Our hearts ache for you."
Terrible. But isn't it early to be allowing such faint comparisons? Police in the bludgeoning death have yet to locate a suspect or call it a hate crime but they have said it appears to be an isolated event. Maybe that's because there are a lot of possibilities in murder cases, such jealous lovers, irate husbands, spats between friends, wild rages with angry neighbors over petty nonsense, etc. Mrs al Awadi was found in her home with no signs of forced entry or theft.

Not to say it wasn't a xenophobic redneck gone wild--they certainly exist--but without hard evidence it's a little speculative to start putting the blame on guys wearing NASCAR hats or even "white Hispanics" (El Cajon has a large Hispanic population). The dynamics of Muslim marriage are not well understood in western society, which is another reason investigations need to be done. And despite 9/11 the number of violent crimes against Muslims has been unexpectedly low.

But we live in a world that demands instant justice. Look at the comments on this report; most have jumped to the conclusions Obama once warned us about when it came to the major Hasan workplace violence jihad at Fort Hood. Read an Agatha Christie novel or watch an old Perry Mason rerun--things aren't always as they seem (click on both links and take a look at the two pictures). The anthrax letters sent in 2001 included notes blaming Muslims. Later a US microbiologist was fingered as the likely culprit. There was a confusing letter left in the Jon Benet Ramsey murder. Red herrings exist.

None of which is a comfort to the afflicted. Human nature being what it is, the group 'under attack' often feels the only recourse is to emotionally call out vigilante mobs, which only begets more violence. Such times demand our leaders to call for calm and patience, not emotional self-identification. They should know their words have tremendous power. If officials stonewall investigations or refuse to prosecute obvious hate crimes after investigations complete there are many other avenues of recourse short of blood in the streets.

Our elite media should understand. Like political leaders they have an ability to shape events but an even higher responsibility to ferret out the truth and keep others in check. After all, they've all been to J-school just like Sarah Palin. Mindlessly aligning disparate events or creating false narratives to help further political causes or sell papers is itself a travesty of justice and completely un-American.

1 comment:

Right Truth said...

Interesting about the hoodie vs hijab debate. It is always interesting how certain groups rush to say "let's not jump to conclusions", yet when it suite their agenda they are the fastest ones to the microphone to do just that.

Right Truth