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Hate Crime Or A Senseless Act? #JusticeforAya

BY: Sophia Abbasi

Islamophobia, is referred to as the fear and prejudice towards Muslims. In the western world, Islam is projected as a religion which practices oppression, violence, and injustices. Due to western media’s negative portrayal, it has caused a global rise in Islamophobia. On March 15th, 2019, a local New Zealand mosque (Christchurch) was the target of a mass genocide. Following the Christ Church shooting, Britain reported a drastic rise of anti-Muslim hate crimes.

The United Kingdom's movement towards nationalism has led to a higher percentage of hate crimes towards Muslims. With data collected, 44% of United Kingdom’s population believes Islam to be an extreme threat to the western civilization. In 2018, the U.K. received a letter encouraging the citizens to participate in hate crimes towards the Muslim community. The letter called upon people to verbally and physically assault an individual who belonged to the Islamic faith. April 3rd, 2018, was advertised as the day of “violence against Muslims” across Britain.

On May 17th, 2020, Aya Hachem, a 19 year old hijabi law student was found dead on the streets of Blackburn, England. As she was headed to a grocery store with her father, her life was taken by a single bullet. Reports have stated it to be a drive by shooting. The question is why Aya Hachem? Why was she the initial target for a white male? Could it possibly have been a “senseless” act, or a hate crime? Lancs Police stated “there is no evidence to suggest Aya was the intended target of this attack and every indication is that she was an innocent passerby”.

In the western culture, white supremacy or the belief of superiority, has caused domestic terrorist attacks to frequently occur. However, the media will hesitate to label this a “terrorist” attack. In reality, Aya’s death was a result of hate crime. A daughter, sister, and friend who will always be remembered. #JusticeForAya

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