Was Craig Stephen Hicks an anti-Muslim fanatic or just a typical White American who shared some popular views found in American culture, who apparently thought nothing of murdering a young male neighbor and his wife and wife’s sister who had strong religious views over an alleged dispute over a parking space in their shared condominium parking lot?
By Ray Hanania
You can visit Craig Stephen Hicks’ Facebook Page and get a pretty good sense of who he really is. It may not explain him completely, but it gives you a perspective on where he was focused.
If the environment where he lived was consumed with anti-Muslim anger, it didn’t show on his posts and writings. Yet, no one knows for sure whether he exchanged any words with his victims, Muslims who openly embraced their religion and who may have fit too neatly into his dislike of religion.
Hicks describes himself as an “atheist,” an excuse that has allowed many American Christians to push aside concerns that Hicks was moved by a growing anti-Muslim wave of hate and racism, and double standards that portrays all Muslim violence as symbolism for Islam while Christian and American violence is merely an aberration that should be forgotten.
Yet the truth is that is Hicks didn’t kill his three victims because they were Muslim, he is White American with an angry grudge. Muslim haters will use the evidence of Hicks’ Atheism and the absence of outright Islamophobia to argue that the incident was not a hate crime.
But I don’t believe that is quite clear.
Click here to view Hick’s Facebook Page.
On Facebook, he just went by the name Craig Hicks.
Hicks launched his Facebook Page in 2009. Hicks is married. He and his wife apparently love the Pittsburgh Steelers and have even dressed up in Steelers sports regalia.
Although he constantly rants about religion, his biggest focus is criticism of Christianity, arguing that it is led by people concerned first and foremost with money. He has very few comments about Muslims, although on Tuesday February 10, he pulled out a .38 caliber handgun that he has pictured on his Facebook page and apparently used it to kill three young Arab Muslim students, as Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill, his wife of six weeks Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha Barakat, 21, of Chapel Hill, and Yusor’s sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of nearby Raleigh, North Carolina.
Police said Hicks slaughtered the three victims over a “dispute” over parking in a lot they shared in a condominium complex in Chapel Hill.
Hicks is a big fan of the Huffington Post. He likes Gibson guitars, dislikes country music, and loves the music soundtrack of “Steel Dragon,” from Mark Wahlberg’s 2001 hard rock music movie, “Rock Star.”
Other movies he likes include “12 Years a Slave” and “Stigmata.”
He likes Penn & Teller and the comedy series “Whose Line is It Anyway?”
Hicks wrote that he supports Gay Rights, and likes George Takai, the Star Trek actor who is openly Gay. He described people who support Gay Rights “awesome.”
His last post was a video of a puppy who learned to ring a small bell to get a doggie treat. It’s cute, cuddly and soft. So why does a guy with such a soft side pull out a gun and murder three people who have been active in helping the poor, raising funds for Syrian refugees, and pursued careers in dentistry and social services?
Hicks was also proud of the fact that he purchased a 38 caliber handgun, posting a picture of the weapon on his Facebook Page on January 20, three weeks before committing a horrific slaughter of three innocent people. He announced the weapon the way someone might announce a newborn baby, writing, “Yes, that is 1 pound 5.1 ounces for my loaded 38 revolver, its holster, and five extra rounds in a speedloader.”
In another post 9 days earlier on Jan. 11, 2015, Hicks wrote somewhat humorously, “It is official, I am a grumpy old man. I now am sure of this, as when I saw a couple having sex in their vehicle in my parking lot a little bit ago instead of just ignoring it I called Chapel Hills finest on them.”
And when he dons a grey suit on Christmas Eve, he wrote self-deprecatingly, “Modern me; same ugly, stupid, fat person with less hair now.”
Just before that, he and his wife went to Disney World where he dressed as a pirate.
Most of his 2013 posts have to do with atheism and general criticism of religious doctrine.
He criticized Romney but did not seem to write much praising Obama, although that alone should give anti-Obama fanatics reason to turn this into an expression of violence linked to Obama’s “Sharia Law” tendencies.
He explains his atheism mainly as a rejection of the concept that a “god” exists or created the world. And he insisted several times on arguing that he has a right to reject religion but people don’t have a right to criticize him for it.
In one of his only references to Muslims, Hicks posted a link to a story by an atheist writer at the online public blog site, The Examiner, in which the writer criticized rightwing critics angry that turkeys butchered for Thanksgiving were killed in a manner to observe the religious beliefs of Muslims — in other words, that the turkeys were “Halal” (similar to Kosher in the Jewish religion).
If Hicks had anti-Muslim feelings, he didn’t show them on his Facebook Page, which makes the murder of three Muslim activists so perplexing.