Let us be clear about this.
Chapel Hill Shooting was exactly the type of backlash that Muslims have been talking about.
The same media pundits who want to send “condolences” now didn’t take heed then. They insisted upon their decontextualized “Je Suis Charlie” hashtag and portrayed us as uncooperative fanatics who get “offended” over “cartoons”, completely manipulating the abrasive nature of hate speech and how it remains just that - hate speech - regardless of its in writing, animated or verbal form. They contributed to a culture that maligns and pathologizes Muslims and Islam into a violent and unmanageable other that needs to be handled.
Well, this is how a white supremacist decided to “handle” The Muslim Question that Americans have openly grappled with. Feel free to scoff at this irredeemable act of savagery, but it doesn’t happen without context and normalization. Islamophobia is a culture. Treating the death of Muslims, unearthing of Muslim majority regions, destabilization of entire nations as a requirement to combat “terrorism” has been the (white) American way and the basis of foreign policy in North/East Africa and West/South Asia for several years now.
You’re either a part of the solution, or the problem. Toss out false notions of individualism. We are a collective and each of our actions, words or lack thereof speaks volumes and reverberates effects.
If you allow Islamophobic sentiments to continue unchecked and tolerate it in your vicinity, you’re an enabler. If you think there’s legitimacy in imperial occupations and believe “collateral damage” (ie. innocents dead) in drone wars is a sad, albeit necessary evil, you’re an enabler. If “terrorism” is a lexicon you only employ within the contexts of Muslims, you’re an enabler. If you honestly believe that hijab wearing women share one common narrative of oppression and do not allow them a chance at cultivating their own understanding and relationship to their faith and mode of dress, you’re an enabler.
There are countless instances in which Islamophobia, as a cultural, geopolitical and economical phenomenon can be and are proliferated. Unless you’re actively working towards dismantling it, within self and communally, you do not have the right to disassociate yourself from its devastating outcomes.