Last weekend I wrote about Mustafa Mattan, the latest round in the ongoing "safe haven" series where Somali Muslims bring their sick pathologies with them across the globe, showing up in Alberta where they keep murdering each other and wondering why the west isn't the peaceful paradise that they were hoping that it was (and, indeed, it was before they showed up).
Also last week, news broke late at night that three Muslims in North Carolina were gunned down. Immediately Twitter broke out with #MuslimLivesMatter, and early reports on the ground were that the perpetrator was white. Right from the get-go, the story smelt weird to me though, and within hours and long before the facts came through, I warned that "Islamophobia" didn't look to be a reliable culprit to explain the deaths. Of course, we now know that the dispute was over trivial matters unrelated to the colour of the victim's skin, and inasmuch as it was about their "religion" their killer was a violently dangerous athiest who couldn't tell the difference between Osama bin Laden and Mother Theresa.
Pakistani newspaper "The International News" is all over a connection between the two deaths though. In their analysis of the two shootings, Khaled A Beydoun and Margari Hill write:
While #MuslimLivesMatter trended for Deah, Yusor and Razan, there were sporadic tweets linked to Mattan’s story, and few questions as to why Mattan’s death received little attention. The Chapel Hill shootings have inspired a broad, diverse and lurid chorus of support and solidarity; Mattan’s name, however, has been met with relative silence.The "relative silence", one supposes, is partly due to the much more muted media culture in Canada (recently losing one of the outlets that would cover these cases). Also because if the Americans went nutso every time some Somalian came to Alberta and was murdered, you'd need to build another cable network.
Still, the coverage discrepancy may also stem from the fact that in the States the killer is identified and has a clear (though obscurely insignificant) motive. In the case of Mustafa Mattan, we don't know why he was gunned down through his door (though random act of violence is still the dominant narrative, with the victim being such a beautiful peace-loving soul etc. etc. etc.. Beydoun and Hill, oddly enough, seem to already know a little more about the case than the Edmonton SUN or the CBC have come across.
What, if anything, colours the disparity in alarm and organising, amplification and action encircling the two tragedies? The curious case of Mustafa Mattan is as much a story of intra-racial division and anti-black racism within the Muslim population as it is a narrative about the neglected death of a young man seeking a better life far from home.Wait, hold on.
Anti-black racism within the Muslim population? Is this tied to the "disparity of alarm" in the Mattan slaying? Or is this identifying a possible motive for his killer? The International News article also mentions that Mattan was staying at his brother's place. The Edmonton SUN only mentions that he had roommates. So is this mistaken identity, as I alluded to over the weekend? Are both of the Mattan brothers "giving, loving, caring, helping people" or does that only apply to the one who died? What do we know of Mattan's roommates? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that they are also Somali Muslims from Toronto. If Mattan was with his brother, we know at least one of them was.
Of course, we can't talk about this murder (likely committed by another Somali Muslim, just like all the other Somali Muslims in Alberta killed by their brethren), without hearing about good ol' "Islamophobia":
Despite a few vocal critics, Mattan’s erasure in the discussion of Islamophobia in North America is evident. The exclusion of Mattan and Sheikh-Hussein perpetuates a harmful hierarchy that privileges Arab narratives and excludes black/African Muslims.I can't speak much to "harmful hierarchy", that's a construct that needs to be addressed if at all by the derka derka crowd themselves. But to immediately think that Mattan's death, distinct from Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and Razan Abu-Salha, is a sign of "Islamophobia" is optimistic at best. The victim card, despite their best efforts, just isn't one that any Muslim can get away with playing.