Having seen two references in the past two days to the Alia Ansari's tragic death, I feel compelled to take note of the speculation that Ansari's death was a hate crime or was due to her wearing hijab. These statements are made with no basis in fact, yet they are repeateded by many so-called Muslim leaders and non-Muslim liberal sympathisers. These speculations are apparently believed by many Muslims (and Harvard student filmmakers). Many Black civil rights leaders (i.e., Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton) make a might fine living off the minority grievance industry, but they're being surpassed by the grievance industry of Muslim organizations such as CAIR and MAS. The Alia Ansari case is a perfect example of pimping a tragedy, twisting the truth to score grievance points, and passing off rumor as truth.
Alia Ansari was murdered on October 6, 2006 in Fremont California, while walking with her three-year old daughter to pick up some of her other children at school. A car pulled up beside her and someone who reported to be either Black or Latino shot her in the face, killing her. The 3-year old was not injured. Ansari, an Afghan Muslim immigrant, was wearing a traditional headscarf, and "rumors began swirling that the shooting was a hate crime", that she was shot because she was wearing hijab. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) immediately called for a hate crime investigation. Sheikh Hamza Yusuf of the Zaytuna Institute, referred to as "one of the nation's most respected Muslim scholars and leaders" had this to say:
Other Muslim leaders said that the only motive was surely religious hatred against Muslims.
You know, it's a truism that you tend to see what you're looking for. And it's sad that so many so-called Muslim leaders are looking for religious discrimination. They will surely find it. They will manufacture it, even, so they can continue their victimist ideology. It's an enormous disservice to Muslims when CAIR, MAS, Ibrahim Cooper, Hamza Yusuf and others claim that any incident or crime involving Muslims is a hate crime.
In the Ansari case, there was speculation initially that another Afghani killed her. There are several Afghani gangs in Fremont. Alia had one family member murdered in January 2002 over a spurned romance and another cousin was wounded in the same incident. Yet Muslim leaders said nothing about that, which provide reasonable motives for a vengeance or family feud-type killing.
As it turns out, the man who was arrested only one hour after the shooting, Manuel Ungaro, aged 27, was charged last week with Alia's murder. Ungaro has six felon convictions for auto theft, drug possession, grand theft. He had been in and out of state prison since 2002 for the auto theft, hit-and-run and gun possession cases as well as for violating parole. He was released from prison on September 6, 2006 and he murdered Alia Ansari one month later.
Last week, I read an article by local Muslim-convert writer Karen Friedmann/Maria Hussain about hijab that had continued the baseless claim that Ansari was murdered because she wore hijab. Today,I read that two Harvard filmmakers did a documentary on "religious diversity and tolerance" in Fremont, CA, following Alia Ansari's murder. The documentary was screened at Harvard last Thursday. Here's an article from the Harvard University Gazette:
"With the fourth-most-populous city in the San Francisco Bay area as its backdrop, the film examines how Fremont, Calif., a community dramatically transformed by recent immigration, has woven a wide range of new religions and cultures into the fabric of its daily life.... The film also looks at how the city responded to hate crimes in the wake of 9/11."
Really? What were those hate crimes exactly? How many were there? Details, please!
The documentary is flawed because it is based on a false premise, on something that has not been shown to be true. Rumor is truth, to many Muslims unfortunately and to two Harvard Divinity School graduates. The filmmmakers have pandered to the worst fears of a community and inflamed those fears. Why?
Allow me to speculate for a moment. If it turns out that Manuel Ungaro was a hit man, a hired gun who shot Alia Ansari to settle a family feud, what would happen to the narrative? Would the Harvard grad students go back to make a follow-up documentary? How about making a documentary about the truth, instead of the perception of a community whose own leaders encourage thinking the worst about non-Muslims? The hysteria after Alia Ansari's horrible murder was manufactured. Muslim leaders in Fremont and their non-Muslim apologists (including folks like Rachel Antell and Elinor J. Pierce) deserve blame for their part in manufacturing suspicion and religious animosity, and for promoting rumor as fact.
Shouldn't the truth matter to Divinity School students, of all people?