A Lebanese-American man in the state of Oklahoma was shot and killed by a neighbor who was accused of using violence and shouting anti-Muslim slurs against the man’s family for years.
Police say Khalid Jabara, 37, was killed at his home in Tulsa on Friday by 61-year-old Stanley Majors. Ironically, Jabara was not even a Muslim, but rather a Christian originally from Lebanon.
Majors was arrested after the fatal shooting and is expected to be charged with first-degree murder later this week, Tulsa police said.
Jabara's sister issued a statement, saying Majors had harassed their family for years, calling them ''filthy Lebanese," "dirty Arabs,” '"Mooslems," and “Aye-rabs."
"My family lived in fear of this man and his hatred for years," read a family statement shared online by Jabara's sister, Victoria Jabara Williams, on Monday.
Majors was awaiting trial for aggravated assault after allegedly driving his vehicle into Jabara's mother in September, which caused her numerous injuries. Prosecutors tried to keep Majors in jail on the assault charge, but he was released on bond in May.
Jabara's mother, Haifa, had told police in 2014 that Majors had yelled racial slurs at her while she was in her driveway and threatened to kill her.
Veronica Laizure, the civil rights director at the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR), said the murder may have been motivated by anti-Arab sentiments and it is indicative of a larger problem of Islamophobia in the country.
"This isn't even the first time that anti-Muslim sentiment has resulted in this kind of tragic loss of life," Laizure said in a statement on Tuesday.
"A year and a half ago, there were three young Muslims who were brutally murdered by their own neighbor after a series of incidents where their neighbor said similar hateful things about what he perceived to be their religion and their ethnicity," she said.
On Saturday, a Muslim imam and his assistant were shot and killed while walking home after conducting afternoon prayers at a mosque in New York City.
Hate crimes against Muslims have increased along with anti-Muslim rhetoric linked to the US presidential election campaign, according to a recent report by The Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.