On Thursday evening, March 3, about 55 students, faculty and Sisters met in the Intercultural Center of The College of St. Scholastica to remember three young Sudanese Americans who were killed in Fort Wayne, Indiana on February 24: 23-year-old Mohamedtaha Omar, 20-year-old Adam Kamel Mekki and 17-year-old Muhannad Adam Tairab. Mohamedtaha and Muhannad Adam were Muslim, while Adam Kamel was Christian. They were immigrants from the Darfur region of Sudan and lived in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood.
The execution-style murders of these three men attracted little media attention until a few days ago, when posts on social media sites such as Twitter spread the news. The students who organized this memorial, members of the college’s Muslim Student Association, believe these young men’s deaths were ignored by mainstream news because they were immigrant, African, poor, and Muslim. They want to make sure that these men are honored in death. Two students shared what an Internet search revealed about the murders, and then played a video of poet Ibrahim Jaaber reciting the spoken word he composed to protest the deaths of three Muslims who were killed exactly one year before in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (“Spoken word” is a term for poetry that is intended to be performed, where the intonation, inflection, and word play enhance the meaning of the words chosen.)
The Sisters believe all people should be honored in life and remembered in death, and that the life of each person is precious. We offer our sympathy to their family and friends. We, too, are deeply troubled about the movement in this country towards demonizing immigrants and Muslims, and support the Muslim community in this sad time with our prayers and our presence.