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Muslim Role Models

Goodness versus Hate Crime: Suzanne Barakat

Translator: Rümeysa Şevval Ayvaz

In a place where alienation and discrimination exist, we will talk about Suzanne Barakat, a brave voice that shouts against the evil of discrimination and hate crimes in this article. Despite her pain, Suzanne Barakat never backs down from standing tall and constructs her fight on kindness. Let’s take a closer look at Suzanne Barakat’s story together.

Suzanne Barakat is a successful young doctor currently serving as an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California. She is a courageous and resolute person who fights against hate crimes while embracing her Muslim identity. When the date showed February 10, 2015, a hate crime fueled by Islamophobia took Suzanne’s three siblings away from her in the state of North Carolina.

We mentioned that she is brave and resolute because in a time when seeds of hatred and animosity are sown recklessly, she bravely confronts this difficulty with the awareness that telling the truth is a virtue. Every day, new individuals join the fight for kindness. Since 2015, Suzanne Barakat has been striving to end hate speech and marginalization in America. She attends seminars to combat hatred and delivers speeches on every platform to bring an end to hate crimes.

Three Young Sibling Murdered at Home

Deah, Yusor, and Razan… They were murdered in their own safe place, their home. The innocent three young siblings, who had been subjected to the harassments of their killer for months, were murdered solely because they were Muslims. Suzanne sadly reveals that the killer was particularly uncomfortable with the appearance of Yusor and her mother and had repeatedly made them feel uneasy with his gaze. She even recalls that Yusor’s mother had advised them to be kind to this person because they were neighbors and that they would see their humanity as they got to know them. She adds, “Despite their respectful and tolerant approach, this hatred resulted in death.”

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February 10, 2015

Yusor had invited her sister Razan for dinner by cooking a meal, and Deah had just returned from school. While they were happily eating, there was a knock on the door, and when Deah went to open it, he was injured by gunfire from their neighbor, Craig Hicks. Immediately, Yusor and Razan called the emergency hotline, but the killer quickly headed to the kitchen and caused their deaths with a single bullet to the back of their heads. As he exited, he also shot Deah, targeting his head, chest, as well as his hands and legs, with a total of eight bullets.

The man who ruthlessly murdered Suzanne Barakat’s three close relatives surrendered to the police, claiming that he had killed three children at close range due to a park dispute immediately after the murder. The police, without questioning or investigating, repeated the man’s claims in a press statement that morning. However, there was no park dispute, no fight, and no violation. The headline “a park dispute” had already been engraved in people’s minds through the press statement…

Suzanne Barakat: Apparently, I Had Hugged Him for the Last Time

When Suzanne received the news, she was on duty at San Francisco General Hospital. She immediately left and went to her family. The pain she experienced was indescribable. She recalled the conversations she had with her brother Deah on their wedding day: “Suzanne, I am the person I am because of you. Thank you for everything. I love you.” he had said.

Then the moment they hugged for the last time came to her mind. Suzanne recounts it as follows:

After his wedding, I had visited my brother and hugged him. That was the last time I hugged him… I didn’t know it would be the last time. The picture of his smiling face remained in my mind.

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Suzanne Barakat speaks about the day she lost her loved ones with a trembling voice and explains how this tragedy changed her life: “After that day, everything changed for me. I used to be the girl who had everything planned, the girl who had her whole life figured out. I became a different person after the tragedy.”

In the face of this great loss, Suzanne did not retreat or succumb to despair. Instead, she became an advocate for justice and a fighter against hate crimes. She travels extensively, participates in conferences, and shares her story to raise awareness about the dangers of hatred and prejudice. Suzanne Barakat’s determination to promote love, understanding, and tolerance is an inspiration to many.

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The Struggle Continues

Suzanne Barakat’s struggle against hate crimes and discrimination continues. She firmly believes that by sharing her story and working together, society can make progress in eliminating hate and fostering a more inclusive and compassionate world.

In honor of her siblings’ memory, Suzanne established the Our Three Winners Foundation to support educational programs and community initiatives that promote peace, understanding, and inclusion. Through this foundation, she carries on their legacy and continues to inspire others to stand against hate and work towards a brighter future.

Suzanne Barakat’s journey is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of love to overcome hate. She serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us that even in the face of tragedy, goodness and compassion can prevail.

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