By Reem Sharaf

Tragedy has struck the DC Metropolitan Muslim Community yet again. On the morning of Father’s Day, Sunday June 18th, 2017 Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year old Muslim high school girl from Sterling, VA was brutally assaulted and murdered. Her alleged killer, Darwin Martinez Torres has been taken into custody and the crime was being labeled as a “road rage” situation and not a hate crime.

The news of the abduction, assault, and murder of Hassanen has shocked the community. Unfortunately, following many such traumatic events, fear mongering takes a hold of the community. Since the incident, propositions of self-defense classes, extra Mosque security, and negative rhetoric about Latinos have circulated throughout the community. Statements and lives lived as fueled by fear, will only fuel the repetitive circle of negativity and intolerance.

One bad person does not mean a whole group deserves to be persecuted for it. Hate and intolerance will never right a wrong. As Muslims, as Arab Americans, and as any minority group knows, being persecuted for your color, gender, religion, or way of life is a violation of our humanity. Arm yourself with knowledge, not hatred.

Find Help

As a Muslim, Arab, minority community we need to have more conversations about mental health. Show love and support to one another. Having a strong support group during times of crisis helps us process the events that have transpired.  Create an environment of safety and openness for others to voice their feelings. Focus on our children and teenagers, especially those who were with Nabra that night. Let them know this was not their fault; they did their best and reassure them they are safe and loved. And yes, take self-defense classes, be vigilant, and create safety plans. Do so not out of fear, but out of love for yourself and loved ones and as a commitment to living a full life.

Lend a Helping Hand

Do reach out to those in your community who are clearly struggling with inner demons. Perpetrators of crime tend to be mentally unstable, and at times, victims of crime themselves. Reaching out does not excuse their behavior or guarantee it won’t happen, but if there is a slight chance it might encourage them to seek help, then that is a chance worth taking.

Make a New Ideology

Stand up, be strong, and don’t quit. Have hope that good will always prevail over evil. Believe that the best of humanity shines through in the darkest of days. Take proactive action again violence in all its forms. Write to your representatives, raise awareness, and change the narrative about violence and crimes.

My heart goes out to Nabra’s parents, family, and all those she’s graced with her life. No words can ever bring back your precious child but know that you will one day be reunited again. May you find solace through the sincere prayers of others, strength in knowing your daughter’s unstoppable courage, and hope from the loving memories you’ve shared together. May God fill your hearts with patience, perseverance, and faith during your time of grief.      

  ‬بقلم‭ ‬ريم‭ ‬خلف

كارثة‭ ‬جديدة‭ ‬ضربت‭ ‬الجالية‭ ‬العربية‭ ‬والمسلمة‭ ‬في‭ ‬منطقة‭ ‬واشنطن‭. ‬في‭ ‬صباح‭ ‬يوم‭  ‬الأحد‭ ‬والذي‭ ‬صادف‭ ‬عيد‭ ‬الأب‭ ‬من‭ ‬الثامن‭ ‬عشر‭ ‬من‭ ‬يونيو‭ ‬الماضي‭ ‬تم‭ ‬إعتداء‭ ‬شنيع‭ ‬وقتل‭ ‬نبرة‭ ‬حسنين‭ ‬ذات‭ ‬السبعة‭ ‬عشر‭ ‬عاماً‭ ‬والتي‭ ‬كانت‭ ‬طالبة‭ ‬ثانيوية‭ ‬في‭ ‬منطقة‭ ‬سترلينج‭ ‬بفرجينيا‭. ‬المتهم‭ ‬هو‭ ‬داروين‭ ‬مارتينز‭ ‬تورس‭ ‬والذي‭ ‬تم‭ ‬اعتقاله‭ ‬واعتبار‭ ‬القضية‭ ‬‮«‬غضب‭ ‬شوارع‮»‬‭ ‬وليست‭ ‬جريمة‭ ‬كراهية‭ ‬من‭ ‬قبل‭ ‬السلطات‭.‬

خبر‭ ‬اختفاء‭ ‬والإعتداء‭ ‬وقتل‭ ‬نبرة‭ ‬وقع‭ ‬كالصاعقة‭ ‬على‭ ‬الجالية‭ ‬العربية‭ ‬والمسلمة‭. ‬وللأسف‭ ‬بعد‭ ‬وقوع‭ ‬مثل‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬الحوادث‭ ‬تنتشر‭ ‬الإشاعات‭ ‬والأقوال‭ ‬التي‭ ‬تثير‭ ‬المخاوف‭ ‬بين‭ ‬افراد‭ ‬الجالية‭. ‬وبعد‭ ‬وقوع‭ ‬الحادث‭ ‬مباشرة‭ ‬بدأ‭ ‬تداول‭ ‬بين‭ ‬افراد‭ ‬الجالية‭ ‬اقتراحات‭ ‬بالتدريب‭ ‬على‭ ‬الدفاع‭ ‬عن‭ ‬النفس‭ ‬ورفع‭ ‬مستوى‭ ‬الحراسة‭ ‬بالمساجد‭ ‬وكذلك‭ ‬اتهامات‭ ‬طالت‭ ‬الجالية‭ ‬اللاتينية‭ ‬بالمنطقة‭. ‬واتهامات‭ ‬كهذه‭ ‬ستشعل‭ ‬غضب‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬وتجعلهم‭ ‬يدورون‭ ‬في‭ ‬دائرة‭ ‬من‭ ‬الخوف‭ ‬والتعامل‭ ‬السلبي‭ ‬مع‭ ‬من‭ ‬حولهم‭.‬

فوجود‭ ‬شخص‭ ‬سيئ‭ ‬لا‭ ‬يعني‭ ‬أن‭ ‬كل‭ ‬افراد‭ ‬تلك‭ ‬الفئة‭ ‬هم‭ ‬سيؤون‭ ‬ولا‭ ‬يجب‭ ‬وضعهم‭ ‬في‭ ‬موقع‭ ‬الإتهام‭ ‬ايضاً‭. ‬الكراهية‭ ‬وعدم‭ ‬التسامح‭ ‬لن‭ ‬يصححوا‭ ‬الخطأ‭.‬‭ ‬فنحن‭ ‬كعرب‭ ‬ومسلمين‭ ‬وأقلية‭ ‬نعلم‭ ‬كل‭ ‬العلم‭ ‬ما‭ ‬معنا‭ ‬أن‭ ‬نتهم‭ ‬بسبب‭ ‬اللون‭ ‬او‭ ‬الجنس‭ ‬او‭ ‬الدين‭ ‬او‭ ‬اسلوب‭ ‬حياتنا‭ ‬ليس‭ ‬الا‭ ‬اعتداء‭ ‬على‭ ‬الإنسانية‭. ‬فسلحوا‭ ‬انفسكم‭ ‬بالمعرفة‭ ‬وليس‭ ‬بالكراهية‭. ‬

ابحثوا‭ ‬عن‭ ‬المساعدة

كجالية‭ ‬عربية‭ ‬ومسلمة‭ ‬يجب‭ ‬أن‭ ‬نناقش‭ ‬قضايا‭ ‬حساسة‭ ‬كالصحة‭ ‬النفسية‭ ‬وعلينا‭ ‬أن‭ ‬نعبر‭ ‬عن‭ ‬الحب‭ ‬والتضامن‭ ‬بيننا‭. ‬فوجود‭ ‬مجموعات‭ ‬التضامن‭ ‬في‭ ‬مثل‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬الأزمات‭ ‬تساعدنا‭ ‬على‭ ‬التعامل‭ ‬معها‭ ‬بصورة‭ ‬صحية‭ ‬وصحيحة‭. ‬وايجاد‭ ‬جو‭ ‬من‭ ‬الإنفتاح‭ ‬والأمان‭ ‬للآخرين‭ ‬ليعبروا‭ ‬عن‭ ‬مشاعرهم‭ ‬وآرائهم‭ ‬ايضاً‭ ‬له‭ ‬دور‭ ‬ايجابي‭. ‬ويجب‭ ‬التركيز‭ ‬على‭ ‬الأطفال‭ ‬والشباب‭ ‬وخاصة‭ ‬الذين‭ ‬كانوا‭ ‬مع‭ ‬نبارا‭ ‬في‭ ‬تلك‭ ‬الليلة‭. ‬واكدوا‭ ‬عليهم‭ ‬بأن‭ ‬ما‭ ‬حدث‭ ‬ليس‭ ‬لهم‭ ‬دور‭ ‬به‭ ‬وقد‭ ‬قاموا‭ ‬بما‭ ‬استطاعوا‭ ‬وأنهم‭ ‬بأمان‭ ‬ومحبوبون‭ ‬من‭ ‬الآخرين‭. ‬وبالتأكيد‭ ‬تدربوا‭ ‬على‭ ‬الدفاع‭ ‬عن‭ ‬النفس‭ ‬وكونوا‭ ‬متنبهين‭ ‬وارسموا‭ ‬خطط‭ ‬للأمان‭. ‬وقموا‭ ‬بذلك‭ ‬من‭ ‬اجل‭ ‬سلامة‭ ‬انفسكم‭ ‬والآخرين‭ ‬وليس‭ ‬من‭ ‬منطلق‭ ‬الخوف‭ ‬لتعيشوا‭ ‬حياة‭ ‬كاملة‭. ‬

مد‭ ‬يد‭ ‬المساعدة

تواصلوا‭ ‬مع‭ ‬هؤلاء‭ ‬في‭ ‬الجالية‭ ‬الذين‭ ‬يعانون‭ ‬من‭ ‬صراعات‭ ‬سلبية‭ ‬داخلية‭. ‬والذين‭ ‬يرتكبون‭ ‬جرائم‭ ‬هم‭ ‬أنفسهم‭ ‬قد‭ ‬وقعوا‭ ‬ضحايا‭ ‬للجرائم‭ ‬ايضاً‭. ‬والتواصل‭ ‬مع‭ ‬هؤلاء‭ ‬لا‭ ‬يعني‭ ‬اعطاءهم‭ ‬العذر‭ ‬عن‭ ‬تصرفاتهم‭ ‬وليس‭ ‬ضمان‭ ‬لعدم‭ ‬وقوع‭ ‬جريمة‭ ‬ولكن‭ ‬قد‭ ‬تكون‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬فرصة‭ ‬لهم‭ ‬لطلب‭ ‬المساعة‭ ‬فهذا‭ ‬ما‭ ‬يجعل‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬الخطوة‭ ‬مهمة‭ ‬لإتخاذها‭.‬

ابتكروا‭ ‬ايدولوجية‭ ‬جديدة

كن‭ ‬قوياً‭ ‬وقف‭ ‬في‭ ‬مواحهة‭ ‬المحن‭ ‬ولا‭ ‬تتوقف‭ ‬عن‭ ‬المحاولة‭. ‬تحلى‭ ‬بالأمل‭ ‬فهو‭ ‬دائما‭ ‬ما‭ ‬ينتصر‭ ‬على‭ ‬الشر‭. ‬وتأكد‭ ‬بأن‭ ‬افضل‭ ‬شيئ‭ ‬بالإنسانية‭ ‬يخرج‭ ‬في‭ ‬فترات‭ ‬المحن‭. ‬وكن‭ ‬مبادراً‭ ‬على‭ ‬اتخاذ‭ ‬قرارات‭ ‬ضد‭ ‬العنف‭ ‬بكل‭ ‬اشكاله‭. ‬انشر‭ ‬الوعي‭ ‬وتواصل‭ ‬مع‭ ‬ممثليك‭ ‬السياسيين‭ ‬وغير‭ ‬ما‭ ‬هو‭ ‬معروف‭ ‬عن‭ ‬الجريمة‭ ‬والعنف‭ ‬في‭ ‬المجتمع‭. ‬

مشاعري‭ ‬كلها‭ ‬مع‭ ‬ابوا‭ ‬نبرة‭ ‬وعائلتها‭ ‬وكل‭ ‬الذين‭ ‬شاركوها‭ ‬حياته‭. ‬لا‭ ‬توجد‭ ‬كلمات‭ ‬تعيد‭ ‬طفلتكم‭ ‬الثمينة‭ ‬اليكم‭ ‬ولكن‭ ‬تأكدوا‭ ‬بأنكم‭ ‬ستجتمعون‭ ‬مرة‭ ‬اخرى‭. ‬قد‭ ‬تجدون‭ ‬بعض‭ ‬العزاء‭ ‬في‭ ‬صلوات‭ ‬الآخرين‭ ‬وشجاعة‭ ‬ابنتكم‭ ‬والذكريات‭ ‬التي‭ ‬شاركتموها‭ ‬مع‭ ‬بعض‭. ‬ادعوا‭ ‬الله‭ ‬ان‭ ‬يملئ‭ ‬قلوبكم‭ ‬بالصبر‭ ‬والإيمان‭ ‬والمثاربة‭ ‬في‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬الأيام‭ ‬الصعبة‭.‬