Today, Muslim Advocates and the Arab American Institute (AAI) spearheaded a coalition letter of over 50 advocacy, civil rights, community and faith-based groups to demand that Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett direct law enforcement to conduct a fair and thorough investigation of the heinous murder of Khalid Jabara, an Arab American who was killed by his neighbor, Stanley Majors. Majors had previously run over Mr. Jabara’s mother with a car and had a history of calling him and his family “dirty Arabs,” “filthy Lebanese,” as well as “Mooslems” and “Aye-rabs.” Signatories to the letter include the NAACP, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, National LGBTQ Task Force, the ACLU of Oklahoma, and TULSA – The United League of Social Action.
“In the last year, hate crimes targeting Arabs, Muslims, and those perceived to be either have skyrocketed,” said Madihha Ahussain, Muslim Advocates staff attorney and lead for the Program to Counter Anti-Muslim Hate. “Unfortunately, there has also been a pattern of law enforcement officials minimizing the possibility that these crimes may be motivated by bigotry, sending a dangerous message that hate violence is not taken seriously. We call on law enforcement officials to aggressively investigate crimes like these to ensure the safety of all communities. The Jabara family and other victims of hate violence deserve that much.”
Even as the Jabara family had repeatedly asked law enforcement for protection from Majors, the Tulsa Police Department (TPD) did not closely monitor him. In fact, just minutes before the murder, after Mr. Jabara called to notify police that Mr. Majors had a gun, TPD officials said there was nothing they could do. Even after the horrific murder, TPD failed the family again, with TPD Sergeant Dave Walker saying in a national media interview, “this is an ongoing dispute with neighbors. Yeah, there is hate, but I don’t think the only reason is because they are Middle Eastern.”
“This attack like the other hate crimes that have taken place demonstrate both the threat our society is facing in terms of division and the need to come together as a nation to combat this bigotry,” said Maya Berry, executive director of AAI. “Anti-Arab bias and discrimination is not new, but the current climate continues to make this type of hatred more prevalent. Khalid Jabara was a son, a brother, and an uncle who brought joy to his family and friends. We must do more to prevent tragedies like these from shattering the lives of other families.”
Read the full text of the coalition letter here.
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization working on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths. Through high impact lawsuits, policy advocacy, and community education, Muslim Advocates serves as a resource to empower communities and ensures that the American Muslim community is heard by the courts and leaders at the highest level of government. Visit Muslim Advocates at http://www.muslimadvocates.org and follow @muslimadvocates.
Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent. AAI has developed a host of services, from voter education to liaison with the national parties, to support the community’s activities. AAI’s programming provides communities with the platform and hard data necessary to strategically and successfully combat xenophobia, and anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry. For more information please visit www.aaiusa.org and follow @AAIUSA.