On August 5, 2020, five members of a Senegalese-American Muslim family incurred fatal injury in a fire that consumed their Colorado home. Denver authorities have opened investigations into the fire, citing evidence of potential arson. The Diol family, consisting of Djibril Diol, his wife, daughter, sister, and niece, were a vital part of the Denver Senegalese-Mauritania community, and will be forever missed by those they leave behind.
Muslim Advocates, an organization in the Denver area, has been working diligently to ensure that the case is properly investigated. The potential of a hate crime, on top of the loss of beloved individuals, has shaken the Muslim community in Colorado to its core. In the midst of rising political and racial tension across the United States over the last few months, the lives of Black Muslim Americans have been doubly challenging. Many feel they must be constantly fearful for their lives, and this fire being investigated as a potential murder and hate crime is a prime example of why.
If we continue to forget about the crimes committed against Americans for their skin color, religion, sexuality, or any other systemically oppressed characteristic, we allow for the deadly hate to continue unchecked.
In the week since the fire, coverage has only extended to the couple of day following the occurrence, and has failed to track the progression of investigation. This leaves a sour taste in my mouth, and makes me fear the worst: the public, and consequently authorities, will forget about the crime and ultimately pretend it never happened. With all the hate crimes that have come to pass over the last month, year, and even decade, many have been wrongfully pushed aside and deemed unimportant. If we continue to forget about the crimes committed against Americans for their skin color, religion, sexuality, or any other systemically oppressed characteristic, we allow for the deadly hate to continue unchecked. A lot of times, our forgetfulness, and the resulting carelessness by the justice system, emboldens those that might perpetrate harm.
The Diol family deserved to live in America in peace, not for their impact on others which was undoubtedly great, but for the intrinsic nature of their livelihoods. Regardless of who someone is or what they have done for others, everyone deserves a fair chance at life, which unfortunately was not granted to the Diols, and continues to be taken away from innocent families and communities every day.
Members of the Denver community have started a GoFundMe to take care of funeral expenses. While they have reached their initial goals, a donation in their favor could go to the members of their family both here in America, and in Senegal who have lost the monetary support Djibril Diol used to offer. You can donate here.
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.