Slow Media Coverage, Undetermined Motive Add to Tragedy of Three Murdered Youths

Fort Wayne police chief Garry Hamilton speaks at the funeral of three young men killed in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The fact that to date, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana has refrained from offering public condolences regarding the murder of three young men of African descent has drawn criticism and along with some other factors has prompted outrage from the community at large and the Muslim community in particular.

Friends and acquaintances of Mohamedtaha Omar, 23, Adam Mekki, 20 and 17-year-old Muhannad Tairab, all American citizens from families of East African descent, were shocked and grieved, relating that they were ‘good boys’ not known to be involved in illegal or questionable activities.  According to CNN, local authorities stated that two of the youths were Muslim, and one Christian.

Their bodies were discovered February 24th in a house in Fort Wayne, Indiana, each inflicted with multiple gunshot wounds. Fort Wayne Public Safety Director Rusty York described the murders as an “execution-style” shooting.

The tragedy occurred almost exactly one year after the horrific killing of three Chapel Hill, North Carolina Muslim students by a lone neighbor who publically verbalized his hatred for Muslims and had actually confronted them on more than one occasion. Yet to date, their murders are not being prosecuted as a ‘hate crime’. Law officials in Fort Wayne stated that they don’t believe the murders of the three young men were committed by one person, but offered no explanation. CNN reported that  local police had “no reason to believe this is any type of hate crime or focus because of their religion or nationality”. Fort Wayne Police Department spokesman Officer Michael Joyner stated to CNN that the owner of house where the bodies were found did not actually live there, but that the young men had permission to be there, adding, “We are still trying to determine a motive or suspects, but we have ruled out hate crime.” No explanation was given to support their rather premature conclusion.

Where was the media?

Outrage stemmed from the fact that a number of other murders that had taken place that week had garnered full media coverage, yet the U. S. media basically ignored this tragic incident, prompting a tumultuous social media response that took immediate notice asking, ‘where is the media?’. One Twitter account holder tweeted, “ When Muslims are suspects, “terrorism” is assumed as motive. When Muslims are victims, it’s a different story.” Another tweeted, “We want a full/complete investigation of the Fort Wayne shooting! Don’t assume “gang related activity”, we want facts!”

Local news station WANE quoted Valerie Handschu, who had worked with two of the victims at the Salvation Army Community Center as saying that Adam Mekki was “sweet and genuine and was just full of joy and energy,” also remembering Muhamedtaha Omar as someone who “could make anybody laugh” and “could find a connection with any type of person.”

Abdelaziz Hassab, a relative of Omar and Tairab stated at their funeral on  Feb. 27, “They will always be remembered as good kids,” reported WANE. “We all came here to find like peace and security away from war zones, he said, “But the destiny waiting for us here is … really crazy.”

A statement included in a Huffington Post report verbalized the sentiments of many: “MPower Change, a Muslim online activism group, has started a petition calling for the Fort Wayne Police Department to “conduct a full and comprehensive investigation” of the killings. The group is promoting awareness of the killings on social media with the hashtag #OurThreeBoys.”

Source: – Islamic Post Staff