Western Media Hypocrisy And The Chapel Hill Shooting

Western Media Hypocrisy And The Chapel Hill Shooting

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Three American Muslims were shot next to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the United States on Tuesday. A 46-year old man turned himself in to the police and has been charged with the murder of the three students. He was identified by the authorities as Stephen Hicks. His Facebook page contained Islamophobic posts and a specific quote from comedian Bill Maher criticizing Islam.

While Twitter and Facebook were flooded with posts talking about their murder, mainstream media was relatively quiet on the onset; a stark contrast to the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Immediately after the attacks in Paris, the vast majority of news sources reported the horrific attacks – as they should. However, after the Chapel Hill attacks, most of mainstream media was quiet.

The first major news source to report the event was The Independent, some two hours later. FOX News, which has been filling the minds of its listeners with relentless Islamophobic discourse, only reported the attack in a small passing headline in the bottom corner of the website, while the front page was predominantly filled with fear instilling news about the indoctrinating recruitment of the Islamic State. The headline failed to mention that the victims were Muslim.  

  This is the same FOX News that had an “expert analyst” talking about the spread of radical Islam and how there were certain areas in the UK and Europe where non-Muslims would not be allowed in and Sharia law was violently enforced. Any logical, thinking mind would immediately debunk this statement, but the majority of FOX viewers are not. Expectedly, the channel issued an apology and even then it contained undertones of the onset of an Islamic threat. This is definitely not the first time hate crimes against Muslims have been brushed under the carpet. Islamophobic attacks in the west have been on the rise in the last two years in the West and very few mainstream sources discuss it. According to TELL MAMA, a campaign shedding light on attacks on Muslims in the UK, hate crimes against Muslims have risen by 5-10%. T ELL MAMA also reports that between 2013 and 2014, there have been 734 hate crimes against Muslims. 40% of the attacks were linked to far right hate groups. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, firebombs and pigs heads were thrown into mosques in Paris according to The Independent. Twenty-Six mosques were vandalized following the terrorist attack. In a school in the French Alps, a Muslim boy was viciously beaten after a minute’s silence was observed for the victims of the Hebdo attack according to Haaretz.  

Europe has been brimming with anti-Muslim protests and rallies organized by racist far right parties. 25,000 people went to the streets in Dresden, Germany just last month against the spread of Islam and the Islamization of the West. It was dominated with Islamophobic banners and posters. In countries such as France, Austria and the Netherlands, anti-Islam parties have been gaining undeniable popularity with all of them posting their best results in their respective parliaments according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Chapel Hill attacks did not prompt breaking news, public condemnation, mass calls for all Americans to apologize or alerting headlines to the murderer’s ideologies and it’s not hard to figure out why. A Muslim being maliciously killed in cold blood as part of a religious hate crime doesn’t serve well for a media that has been subconsciously diverting the minds of its viewers to hold an orientalist point of view of the Middle East and Muslims.

“Were the tides turned, and a Muslim shot three innocent Americans, it’d be unequivocally guaranteed that the degree of interest from the media would remarkably rise”

Directing attention towards the murders would ruin an overwhelming amount of work. They want to depict Muslims as a backward, inherently violent people threatening the Western way of life, a clash of civilizations that would ultimately destroy the western world and showing great interest in the murders of three innocent Muslim students who were collecting money to provide dental care for Syrian refugees simply does not help. The majority of the Western mainstream media have been feeding their viewers with an onslaught of reports on ISIS monstrosities, while doing little effort in differentiating between a terrorist and a Muslim. Reporting on Mosques being vandalized or Muslims being attacked would be a direct change of narrative – one they do not wish to take.

Were the tides turned, and a Muslim shot three innocent Americans, it’d be unequivocally guaranteed that the degree of interest from the media would remarkably rise. There would be FOX News reports on the rise of radical Islam with continued negligence on the backlash of attacks on Muslims that would ensue as a result.

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  • Kevin

    As a westerner, I can tell anyone who doesn’t know that Fox News has a prominent reputation among U.S. citizens as being a heavily biased political machine for the right wing, older white male population. That being said, our country does not at all have a positive view of Islam, and foolish as it may seem, mainstream news media organizations don’t want to come off as ‘Islamic Sympathizers’ due to multiple terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Islam on our soil, as well as an ongoing world conflict with a terrorist group committing heinous crimes in the name of Islam.

    Also, just because someone in the U.S. doesn’t like Muslims (hardly an anomaly) does not mean it is the reason these 3 people were killed. That conclusion is just as much a sensationalist idea as the news organizations this article is criticizing.

  • Kitty

    It was all over the news and it was always said that they were muslim. It was not swept under the rug and they had not yet ruled out that it was a hate crime. It is called an investigation…they are trying to get to the bottom of it and find out exactly why he did this…he may just be a crazy jerk who doesn’t like human beings. There was a service that took a stadium to accommodate the people who showed up…I’m sure they were not all muslim. You are trying to spread hate by saying that Americans do not care. We do…I prayed for them and their families and I am very saddened by the loss of young lives(or any lives). We all bleed red and we all deserve to believe in whatever we choose without the fear of being murdered for it…that goes both ways though and I don’t see much changing in the middle east until the countries rise up against the muslim radical terrorists…denounce them and denounce them killing in the name of Allah. No christian would ever kill in the name of God…ever. I was very proud to hear this morning that Egypt has struck back at ISIS with air strikes. They have stepped up to the plate and may have paved the way for other islamic countries to follow suit. The murderer was reportedly an atheist and probably hated everyone so I’m sure his posts were directed at religion, in general. It was said to have been over a parking spot dispute….who knows? He obviously is not a good person. He will pay for his crime, no matter the reasoning behind it, as he should, because we don’t tolerate terrorism over here in the west. Hate breeds hate…and you are spreading it by saying we don’t care…stop the hate! Again, Kudos to Egypt for taking a stand against ISIS!!!! Be safe, my friends <3

    • tscholent

      No Christian would ever kill in the name of God…ever. ??
      Care to elaborate?

      • Kitty

        I’m just saying that, aside from the few crazies here and there(David Koresh, Jim Jones, etc.) I don’t know of anyone who would ever kill in the name of God(or condone it). God would never ask that of us and it is just not something that christians do…”love thy neighbor”…not “kill thy neighbor because you don’t like what they believe”…it is all about tolerance instead of trying to force people into your belief system with violence. That does not nor will ever work. I pray that you someday have the freedoms that I have in America and that someday you realize that killing anyone in the name of religion or hate is NOT okay…EVER…for ANY reason. Muslims need to DENOUNCE ANY AND ALL ACTS OF TERRORISM even if it is against non-muslims. Otherwise, they are condoning the acts and being part of the problem instead of the solution. The hate needs to stop…we are all human and all deserve human rights and true freedom 🙂

  • old enough to know better

    as a potential journalist, you are a failure, spewing your hatred as if it justifies the mass murder of your fellow citizens/workers in Libya

  • Brenda English

    weather it was over parking space or he against islam doesnt justify him killiig 3 people as i read father of girl said shefear buz guy not like her hajjab but what every reason it was it not give him right kil he sick person and media fuels hate on islam everyone want set judge islam for killings but when christians kill alot nothing said it sweep under rug terry mcvay example NO ONE has right take no one life

    • Giles Goulding

      I am new to this forum and obviously mis -educated even though I had 2 1/2 years of University education. Could some-one please define what a ledifni is?

  • cmjcj2k

    How many muslims kill other muslims or arabs killing kurds, or whatever in the Middle East every day? You want the whole world to stop to cover those headlines too? There wouldn’t be enough time in the day.

  • Sarah

    Thanks for the article. Just one correction for your last paragraph. The victims WERE American!

  • IthinkIknowButIDK

    What are you talking about with western media ignoring it? It was on the FRONT PAGE of CNN for hours! It was only replaced now because something like declaring war is a big deal. If this was a normal murder of 3 people and wasn’t considered a big deal, it wouldn’t be close to the front page of CNN or other news outlets…murders happen every day here in america. What a bias story, great job spreading anti-american messaging (as usual).

    • Sirin

      It was on CNN after several hours like a half day! after it was shared on twitter widely. I mean at that point, after so much criticism they had to, right!

  • Curtis Ruuska

    I dunno, sounds like 25,321,312 to 3.

  • bafaloopa

    The guy was an atheist and is under arrest.

    So what about the people who burned down churches or ran over protesters or incited religious violence?

    The sad truth is they will not be prosecuted but thank God that this man will be.

    Its because when a hate crime happens in the west; regardless of media reaction, every one has equal recourse under the law.

    • Jennifer

      Not true. There are many people that get away with hate crimes and many people who target Muslims and don’t get arrested for anything. I have had numerous things happen to myself and not once, was the person arrested let alone prosecuted. And fyi, they are trying to twist this as a dispute over a parking space versus a hate crime just because it doesn’t fit their view of things and yet evidence proves it is a hate crime.

      • anon_64

        “…evidence proves it is a hate crime.”

        For example?

  • misr2013

    There is no evidence that is a race-related crime. Jumping to conclusions like this is absolutely hysterical and poor journalism. By your logic if any ethnic minority in the States gets murdered we can instantly label it a hate crime?
    Sensationalized crap.

    • Hossam Eldin

      please read the article again. at the beginning and i quote ” 46-year old man turned himself in to the police and has been charged
      with the murder of the three students. He was identified by the
      authorities as Stephen Hicks. His Facebook page contained Islamophobic posts and a specific quote from comedian Bill Maher criticizing Islam.” if you read other articles you would see his Facebook page with him taking a photo with his gun before the crime took place.

      • misr2013

        Again, people can hold Islamaphobic views (nothing new there), it won’t necessarily lead them to murder three people in cold blood. If you do more background research into the issue, you will find that there were other disputes at play. I am not saying it’s one way or another, i’m just saying jumping to conclusions on the matter is exactly the incitement that adds fuel to this fire.

        • Hossam Eldin

          you may be right as no one knows for sure maybe the guy , as you said “wont necessarily lead them to murder” , actually did as there are a lot of nut jobs who may wreak havoc once they proclaim a target and weapon .Moreover he surrendered himself .However this maybe to cover another one and i don’t trust the police there on their investigations ….etc. a lot of possibilities but no definite answer i pray to god to relief the hearts of their family and for the truth to arise.

      • Patty Mitchell

        He posted several things about how he felt about all religions. No doubt the victim’s faith was part of what motivated him to escalate to murder. But to say he was anti-Muslim denies that he was an anti-religion gun nut murderer.

        • Hossam Eldin

          he may have concentrated more on islam as you know the media fuels the rage and war upon the religion itself in the states as he quoted one of bill maher’s racist quotes .

          • anon_64

            Except he didn’t. If anything he was more critical of Christians than he was about Muslims. And the reason you won’t find the “Islamaphobic” quotes here is because all Bill Maher said was the truth. Religion, including Islam, has been used to justify savage acts. Does anyone of any religion wants to debate that point?

    • Jennifer

      Not a hate crime? Really, so brandishing a gun and harassing the people AFTER discovering their religion, isn’t hate. Spewing hateful lies against their religion on fb shows it isn’t hate. Yeah right.

      • anon_64

        Can you give me a single example of one of these “hateful lies”?


Youssef Osman is a political science student with dreams of becoming a journalist. Currently residing in Cairo.

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