John Zawahri has been identified as the killer who went on the terrible rampage in Santa Monica, California. Reports at the moment suggest that Zawahri’s parents were going through a divorce and that the parental split might have been the reason he killed his brother and father. Reports also suggest that he had problems in the past with mental health issues.
Despite these concerns, the Twitter-sphere is already rife with silly remarks. People have been quick to call Zawahri a Muslim without even knowing if he was religious or a believer of Islam. Zawahri is branded a Muslim because he has a “Muslim sounding name.” One person on Twitter wrote:
Clearly Mark Tenney is not aware of the recent article I wrote which paid respect to Muslim American soldiers who have fought and died in the U.S. military.
Another comment which instantly linked Zawahri to an entire religion:
SafeSecureNJ is referring to Ayman al-Zawahri, current leader of al-Qaeda. So basically any person with the last name Zawahri is guilty of “terrorism” because the leader of al-Qaeda shares the same name.
Of course these remarks on Twitter are ridiculous and baseless. As the days go by the conspiracy theorists will probably mention how John Zawahri was actually a “jihadi al-Qaeda operative” who is in the U.S. on behalf of the Obama administration to impose Islam on the American people. Some Islamophobes will stretch a story a thousand miles in order for it to fit their self-serving prophecy.
When Adam Lanza of Newtown, Connecticut went on his killing spree, people did not ask whether he had a “Christian sounding name” or whether he had been a practicing Christian. Only when a killer has a “Muslim sounding name” is he or she labelled a terrorist.
Many people are carelessly jumping to conclusions without even first knowing the facts of the Zawahri matter. What we do know, however, is that people want to associate Islam to violence no matter the situation.
*Note: The title of this post has been changed since its publication this morning. I had included the word “victim,” but have since realized that the word is not appropriate. I have since removed it so as to not upset people.