On the night of February 10, three Chapel Hill students were murdered outside an apartment complex near the University of North Carolina.
All three took shots to the head, execution style. They were pronounced dead on the scene.
But, as the hours passed, there was very little media coverage on the event and no national coverage at all. It took over 15 hours for leading national news outlets to publish a story regarding the shooting.
The police arrested the shooter after he turned himself in; the bodies were on the scene, and it was all there in plain sight.
So why did it take so long for this story to become "newsworthy?"
Well, people on social media certainly felt they had the answer.
The three students, Deah Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, 19, were all Muslim-Americans who were active in their community.
The couple, who just wed this past December, created a Syrian Dental Relief Fund for Syrian refugee students in Turkey. The two sisters actively wore hijabs.
#MuslimLivesMatter quickly blew up. Fellow Muslims, classmates and family members were distraught; they wanted answers and they wanted justice for the three innocent lives that were taken.
Media sources are saying the attack may have stemmed from a "parking dispute" between the neighbors, but a quick look at the shooter's Facebook page reveals many anti-religious statements.
Craig Hicks, 46, had extremist views regarding religious affiliation. He believed religion killed you, so he killed those who practiced it.
Yusor’s father recalls his daughter telling him about their “hateful” neighbor, who consistently battered the young couple. So why has the media covered up the fact that this was clearly a hate crime?
If the tables were turned, would the media coverage be any different? How would the media twist this story around?
If a Muslim man killed three innocent college kids, wouldn't it be on every news outlet? Wouldn't the words "Muslim terrorist," "hate crime" and "terrorism" be stated again and again?
Wouldn’t it be the only thing we saw or read about? Or, are Muslims only newsworthy when they are standing behind the gun, not in front of it?
It's 2015, and we still live in an age where people are hated, singled out and killed for the color of their skin and what they believe in. This past year alone, the world lost too many people for this truth.
It’s 2015, and we still live in a time where we must fear stepping out of our front doors because we might run into someone who doesn’t agree with the way we live. We shouldn’t live with fear instilled in us.
It’s 2015, and we haven’t progressed at all. We are stuck.
Three innocent people lost their lives that night. It’s time to stop the hatred, stop the wrongful depiction of Muslims and value each life. Anyone who stands for peace and justice should not tolerate this bigotry.
It’s not about who they were, what they believed in or how young they were; it is about the fact that innocent people lost their lives.
So, whether we are talking about Michael Brown, Kayla Mueller or Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha, all lives matter.
I pray that one day, we will be able to embrace each other’s differences and encourage different beliefs.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Elite Daily.