While the world continues to mourn and honor Deah Barakat and Yusor and Razan Abu-Salha, a year and a half after their murders, it’s almost like nothing has changed for Muslim and Arab America. On Saturday, an imam and his assistant were shot and killed in broad daylight after prayer at the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid in Queens, N.Y.
Less than 24 hours earlier, Khalid Jabara, a 37-year-old Lebanese Christian man from South Tulsa, Okla., was also shot dead from point-blank range, on his own porch by a neighbor.
The heart-wrenching statement details how the confrontation between Vernon Majors, whom police have named as the neighbor involved, and Jabara, was not the first incident between the two parties; Majors had a notoriously long history of harassing the family in a whole string of incidents that included running over Jabara’s mother with his car as she was out for a run last year.
Williams describes how her mother was left with “a broken shoulder, collapsed lung, broken ankle, broken nose, head trauma, and fractured ribs, among other injuries.”
Majors told the police after they questioned him about the 2015 incident that the victim and her family were “filthy Lebanese.” Williams also recounts how he also called the family everything from “dirty Arabs,” to “Aye-rabs” and “Mooslems,” and was known for being a xenophobe toward other families in the neighborhood as well.
Majors had a notoriously long history of harassing the family in a whole string of incidents that included running over Jabara’s mother with his car as she was out for a run last year.
Majors was released just months after being arrested for assault following the hate crime — which was never investigated as such — and immediately returned to harassing the Jabara family, who has had a protective order issued against him since 2013, when he first began sexually harassing and stalking Jabara’s mother.
It’s not just disrespectful to call this a “neighbors’ feud” or mere “dispute” — it’s downright dehumanizing, and invalidates the fear and pain the Jabara family has endured up until now, and will now have to continue enduring tenfold following the death of their son.
It should also not escape anyone’s notice that had the races in this hate crime been reversed, it would have immediately been investigated as one — that is, if the police had even let the situation get that far before intervening. But the fact remains that Jabari was not a white male.
It’s not just disrespectful to call this a “neighbors’ feud” or mere “dispute” – it’s downright dehumanizing, and invalidates the fear and pain the Jabara family has endured up until now, and will now have to continue enduring tenfold following the death of their son.
Hijabi women are tackled and strip-searched by the police for holding their completely harmless backpacks “suspiciously” when white passerby are uncomfortable, but simply by being Lebanese instead of white, the danger to Jabara’s family was considered not as pressing.
Just 30 minutes before Jabara was killed, Williams says he called the police and told them that he was afraid that Majors had a gun; the police in turn came, informed him there was nothing they could do, and left.
Khalid Jabara was shot four times in a matter of seconds, but his family will feel the effects of those few seconds for a lifetime.
Islamophobia kills — Muslims and those simply perceived to be Muslim. May Allah bless Khalid and grant his family patience, peace of mind, and the strength to endure this horrific crime.