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Juan Cole: Basic Facts on Clothing and Murder for American Bigots

28 March 2012 General 47 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

(Informed Comment)

Dear American bigots:

Basic Fact: Wearing a veil, as Iraqi-American Shaima al-Awady did before she was brutally murdered in her home as part of a hate crime, does not make a person a terrorist. You don’t mind it when pious Roman Catholic women wear a nun’s habit, and you recognize that dress as a sign of dedication to God. You don’t blame all the violence ever committed by Roman Catholics, or events like the Inquisition, on a nun in your neighborhood. Be as tolerant to pious Muslim women.














Basic Fact: Wearing a hoodie is not an invitation to murder, as Geraldo Rivera suggested it was in the case of Trayvon Martin. In fact, if you think about it, St. Francis of Assisi wore a hood, as did many other saints and monks. In the United States, we don’t kill people for how they dress, but how dressing like St. Francis is a crime is a special mystery.

Basic Fact: And, by the way, there is nothing worse than being both a bigot and a f*ck-up. So for God’s sake leave the poor Sikhs alone. Few Muslim men wear turbans, so if you see someone with a turban and a beard, he is likely from Indian Punjab and not a Muslim. I mean, you shouldn’t be bothering Muslims either, but your sad ass is definitely going to clown hell if you shoot down a Sikh because you mistook him for a Muslim.

Basic Fact: And by the way, all this emphasis on clothing as a motive for murder is just a smokescreen for sidestepping the real issue, which is that bigots shouldn’t be allowed to have hand guns. In fact, since you can’t hunt deer with a hand gun and most owners of a hand gun are not reservists in the National Guard of their state, it is unclear why the US tolerates so many hand guns. In countries like Britain, which do not, the murder rate by gun is vanishingly small compared to the annual carnage in the US.

Original post: Basic Facts on Clothing and Murder for American Bigots


  1. interesting fellow. a baha’i no less.

  2. You shouldn’t limit anti-Islamic bigotry to Americans. We aren’t all bad, and bigotry is world-wide.

  3. Basic Fact: Threatening someone over his or her attire, religion, and ethnicity, then killing that person when he or she doesn’t change what can be changed or get the hell away, DOES make the threatener/killer a terrorist.

  4. And this fabric on my head doesn’t automatically make me oppressed, illiterate, ignorant, or married. It is fabric.

  5. Despite Juan Cole’s support for Obama’s imperialist war against Libya last year, this murder (& all hate crimes, including those committed by police) needs just as much widespread attention as Treyvon Martin’s murder.

  6. Amen! So, does that make us (here in America) a nation of terrorists, as we like to threaten the entire world for not doing what we want them to do? Hmmm.

  7. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. I’d love to see this get more attention in the news as well. It certainly deserves it.

  9. Shaima Al-Awady and John Sanderson (an MSU student who was shot to death around the same time) should get the same recognition as Trayvon Martin IMHO

  10. America a nation of terrorist disguised as peacekeepers

  11. Since it was mentioned, I must say as a Libyan, I thank everyone involved for helping us get rid of gaddafi. it’s funny that so many people came out against NATO involvement when they stood silent while gaddafi was killing for the last 4 decades.

  12. “Threatening someone over his or her attire, religion, and ethnicity, then killing that person when he or she doesn’t change what can be changed or get the hell away, DOES make the threatener/killer a terrorist.”

    no doubt: Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57:

    Narrated ‘Ikrima:

    Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to ‘Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn ‘Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, ‘Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).’ I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.’”

  13. I’ve always seen it as a form of prayer or worship, if others would just look at it that way, they would chill out!!

    I live in a neighborhood, South of South Street, or Graduate Hospital formerly known as Grey’s Ferry. Its an extremely integrated (now) neighborhood where many people of the Islamic faith live from different cultures. Some are African American converts, some are Arabs, some are from South East Asia. There are many styles of Hijab, some wear the full Hijab, with the Niqāb even gloves for their hands, some just wear a head scarf and modest american style clothing and call it a day. These women are my neighbors. Some are my friends. I chat EVERY DAY with the two niqabi women, we talk about recipes, kids, hair dye and clothing (yes people HAIR DYE, these ladies like to look attractive for their husbands – they can hang out with the girls and want to look nice, THEY CAN HAVE PRIDE IN THEIR APPEARANCE FOR THEMSELVES!!) one of the ladies took the Niqāb recently, and I told her she looked lovely. I said exactly what I said before. I see you worshiping God this way. What is more gorgeous than that.

    I have a great amount of respect for a woman who can dedicate herself to God like that, IT IS not unlike a nun. Its a big decision because I know once you take that step, its usually done and its a huge change, not swimming in public, covering yourself on hot days. Not all of these women have the full support of their families. Not all of them even have the full support of their husbands. Say, she got alot more religous, and he was used to having his hot wifey walking around on his arm and he was displeased? Say she belonged to a liberal family? SAY SHE CONVERTED? Yes, it takes alot of dedication, and discipline to take the veil. I admire these women. People should just educate themselves on the different reasons why they take the veil (especially when they take it by choice as an older teen or young woman). Ok… rant over. Thanks for listening. Jen.(btw I am 41 I was brought up Irish Catholic in Park Slope Bkny… but my whole life, I read- I was curious about people. Knowledge is power. Educate yourselves that way you learn tolerance, that’s the path to friendship, and peace.

  14. Mike, do you even have any idea about the origins of, or for that matter, anything at all, about the book you are citing? I didn’t think so.

  15. Should the thousands of innocent Libyan civilians who were mass-murdered by Obama(a.k.a. “nato”)’s war against Libya also be thanked for “getting rid of gaddafi,” & should gratitude also be expressed for the u.s. re-gaining control of Libyan oil, since the u.s. war against Libya was actually about controlling Libyan oil, & NOT about “getting rid of gaddafi?”

  16. & it’s abhorrent that so many people stood silent while Obama mass-murdered thousands of innocent Libyan civilians in order to “liberate” them from whatever gaddafi allegedly did or didn’t do to them.

  17. What they did was unforgivable. That said what would happen to an American woman if she decided not to wear a veil or hijab in Saudi Arabia?

  18. Whatever might or might not happen to any Woman wearing or not wearing a veil, Hijab, or anything else anywhere on this planet, this is a hate crime, plain & simple. In fact, any alleged adversity that might be a response to what a woman wears in societies like Saudi Arabia might be based on misogyny (& that oppressive horror occurs all over the planet) but not on color, ethnicity nor religion, whereas this crime is based on color, religion & ethnicity, but not on gender.

  19. I dislike this post very much because it begins by bashing Americans. Now who is looping whom into all the same category based on nationality, etc? Shame on you all. As for Obama, he’s not “solely” responsible for what NATO! did in Libya, and those rebels were begging for help. Were mistakes made, YES. Absolutely yes. And they’re awful. But a brutal dictator was taken out of power and his regime crumbled. Good riddance. What about what Gaddafi was doing to his own people? If the U.S. had done nothing, if NATO had done nothing, there’d be thousands more Eman al-Obeidys, and thousands more injured civilians being killed in their ambulances by Gaddafi’s forces. What about the women he raped to keep as body guards? They’re free now. What about the housekeeper burned over 90% of her body by Gaddafi’s daughter in law, b/c she wouldn’t beat the children? She’s free from their regime too. Before you bash one nation for what a group of nations did, stop to think about the cost of what would have continued if they HADN’T done it.

  20. As for this particular instance, yes it’s beyond horrible. And bigotry everywhere must stop. But it’s not only the U.S.’s problem. As a woman, a non-Muslim, and an American who is an avid follower of this page, I think some things could use some more delicate phrasing. We’re not all bad, you know.

  21. This unjustified tragedy broke my heart. As a mother I would hate 4 my child 2 find me in such a compromising situation. I pray 4 healing 4 all who was/is affected by this obvious hate crime. I truly believe it could also been outta jealousy. We should feel safe in our environments & of course our country I pray 4 justice 4 the family & islamic community.

  22. Good examples of how dress has been used throughout history as a sign of religious piety. One could also include the Amish who follow their conservative ways even to this day. Educating people about the realities of culture and religion is a tough job. I did it for ten years as a World History teacher in public schools. I could have used your line, “your sad ass is definitely going to clown hell…” Brilliant my friend as was the rest of the piece with which I wholeheartedly agree. Keep up the good fight. Even clowns need “tough love.”

  23. williaqm shelton,

    “Mike, do you even have any idea about the origins of, or for that matter, anything at all, about the book you are citing? I didn’t think so.” your right. no i don’t. so what does the origin have to do with anything? it’s a story about how we as humans should act. is that not right? wasn’t ali a “rightly guided caliphate”? should we not according to islam emulate the “rightly guided calipahates”?????

    as for any thing at all. i think dr neismith invented basketball, einstien the theory of relativity, hubble the concept of an expanding universe, jefferson wrote the declaration of independece, francis key scott the national anthem, edison, well quite a few things….blah blah blah. so why don’t you enlighten me.


    “Al-Bukhari traveled widely throughout the Abbasid empire from the age of 16, collecting those traditions he thought trustworthy. It is said that al-Bukhari collected over 300,000 hadith and included only 2,602 traditions in his Sahih.[6] At the time when Bukhari saw [the earlier] works and conveyed them, he found them, in their presentation, combining between what would be considered sahih and hasan and that many of them included da’if hadith.”

    ok so now i know the origin. or is this wiki page wrong? so what? it’s still wrong in my humble, uneducated opinion to kill people for not believing in god. don’t you think? my bad it’sonly wrong to burn them to death. killing them is allah’s justice, just don’t use allah’s punishment. right?

  25. bill,

    look at dat. i don’t even know the dif between your and you’re. lol. so what does the origin have to do with anything? so do you think the average afghan knows the origins? how about the average muslim. i’m still laughing.

  26. Alright, this page is pretty anti-western civilization… *UNLIKE*

  27. Who says it was a hate crime?

    The odds are she killed by a family member

  28. This lady’s death is very tragic and unfortunate. My deepest sympathies to her family.

    However, considering the media bias, I would really wait until law enforcement completes it’s investigation. Just like the Muzzammil Hassan case which was originally publicized as a hate crime and was later revealed to be something else. Just like Mohammad Mehar who was supposed to be a Right Wing Terrorist before he was revealed to be an Islamic terrorist. Even the initial media reports of the Shafia sisters didn’t make any mention of an honour killing, but we know how that turned out.

  29. Smells like a honor killing to me.

  30. i wonder if a non-muslim had been killed the same way, people like David or Daniel still be making the same statements?

  31. In Toulouse I waited until after the jihadi admitted he killed the rabbi and the kids before I blogged about it

    A pity you folk can’t show the same restraint

  32. This whole story about Shaima Alwadi has given me the creeps

    Consider the following

    A glass window or, in other news reports, a glass door is broken, and the mom is beaten to death with a tire iron. Her daughter is upstairs in this rather small house and she hears nothing?

    the family demonstrates detailed knowledge of a murder for which there is supposed to be no witness. How do they know the exact sequence of the blows? How do they have so much precise information about exactly how it was done?

    Hussein: “He first hit her on her forehead then on her right ear. The third strike was on the back of her head. This was followed by five fast and consecutive strikes on her head and shoulders.”

    How the hell does the family know this? Are they medical examiners? Did the police release the investigative report to the family? I seriously doubt it

  33. shut up David!!

  34. David
    So if a muslim woman is attacked or killed its just automatically within the family? Wtf?
    Its been weeks, tthey know what happened. Dont have that double standard. If a non muslim is raped its a tragedy but if a Muslim was its like what…? Ugh.

  35. No, actually they don’t know what happened, if they did they would have arrested someone.

    Shaima Alwadi deserves justice, what she doesn’t deserve is to be used as a pawn by certain groups who invent hate crimes so as to play the victim

    If it is a hate crime the police will say so, it isn’t for certain groups to declare it so just so they can use it as a cover to attack other groups. Do I need to spell what I mean out for you or can you understand me?

    Tell me how the family has such detailed knowledge of a murder for which there is supposed to be no witness.
    How do they know the exact sequence of the blows?

    How do they have so much precise information about exactly how it was done?

    The fact is CAIR needs this to be a hate crime, if not they are going out of business.

  36. Now let’s talk aboput incitement…

    “Dear american Bigots”

    I know where this is going…

  37. yeah David, the family knew exactly how she was attacked, because according to u one of them did it. and they are so stupid to come to media and describe it in detail so they can be arrested. (sarcasm).
    the body was sent to iraq to be buried so the autopsy is complete. and the family has the right to know exactly what happened and how she was attacked. they have the right over the medical report David.

  38. the investigators can figure out how the attack happened looking at the bruises. they can even figure out the weapon, by just looking at the wounds.

  39. Cliff, David and Daniel are brainwasher!! Please you ignore them!! DO you are not argue them. Peace 🙂

  40. It was aimed at recent American events which is probably why it said American bigots. If it had said Americans are bigots that would have been a different thing all together. Yes it could have been phrased differently but it wasn’t.

  41. or if said ALL americans are bigots then it would been wrong. its just referring to americans who are bigots and no one else. so if a person is not a bigot, but happens to be an american then that person shouldn’t be worrying.

  42. I’ve had a close freind who was murdered in Arizona

    The family knew the barest of details in the first months whilst the investigation was ongoing. The Cops told them NOTHING!! And while they where frustrated they knew it was for the best. Only when the case went to court did the details come out

    Their is no way on earth that the family has access to priority investigative material. Its would be extremely unprofessional of the cops or DA to release any material under investigation to the family or public.

    The problem here is that you WANT this to be a hate crime so that you can justify your page

  43. the family can obtain medical reports with permission from district attorney. each case is different, u can’t treat all homicides alike.

    And David the problem here is that you WANT this to be an honor killing so that you can justfiy ur bigotry.

  44. innara chad,

    i agree dave’s comments about the american bigots is silly. and calling it an honour killing was stupid. but the ideal that anyone knows the motivation of the killer is equally as stupid. also the idea that because dave had a friend killed in arizona, he now knows all sop of ever municipality is stupid. each state and even to a county level may allow differnt access at different times during the investigation to different information. but i think your determination of dave being a bigot is just as bad. but he did say the “odds” are a family member. do you not think that is correct? well maybe odds aren’t that. supprising “In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner.1 That’s an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner.2” well that’s just intimate partner. interesting numbers though. i thought it would be reversed. 2 to 1 the other way. but there you go. who here knows “the truth”.


    more than one cop has been extremely unprofessional. i doubt it was an honour killing. just a fit of rage, or maybe a combination. or maybe a bigot. or maybe a drug deal gone bad. or maybe a jealous lover, or a pissed off daughter, or well the possibilities are endless.

  45. David
    It’s not my page.
    And, whether or not it’s a hate crime, I’m not appreciating your comments. If my father witnessed my murder you would say “He killed her.” but if a Jewish woman’s father saw her get killed it’s “That poor man!”
    That’s also true. Who goes to the hospital first? Who’s by their side always? Who finds out if you went to the hospital first, your mom or you’re neighbor? Think, personal info always goes to parents, ALWAYS

  46. Yeah, a Palestinian blames Israelis for everything, and then buys explosives. Shut up, man. You’re so blind. I didn’t pass my Chem test, I didn’t blame Ariel Sharon for it, we blame Israelis for aggressiveness (and don’t act offended-Israelis claim that too) and stuff. God, that was not only racist but idiotic.

  47. David, although it usually takes weeks to receive medical records/ autopsy reports in a death under investigation, you should recall that the victim was alive for several days. During that time, the next of kin could have learnt many of the details from the doctor. But I agree that we should wait until the investigation is complete before passing judgement. Lama: I would say the same thing if the victim had been of any religion or ethnicity. By the way, in most cases of homicide, the police look carefully at the family members, because research shows that killers are more than likely a family member or aquaintance. This research involved homicides committed in America, with victims of all backgrounds. Still, it could be a hate crime,, but I hope not. Domestic violence is evil , but random hate crimes are scary!

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