By Chrishan Fernando
A group of students huddle in a circle with their head bowed down in prayer. Another group of students light candles on the steps of Hovde Hall. To the side, four students make some remarks about the lives and deaths of three young men.
Last Friday, Students for Justice in Palestine at Purdue (SJP) conducted a candlelight vigil for Muhannad Adam Tairab, Adam Kamel Mekki and Mohamedtaha Omar, three young men who were killed “execution-style” in a home in Fort Wayne. All three were black. Tairab and Omar were Muslims and Mekki was a Christian. Fort Wayne Police have not identified a killer as of yet.
Asma Bahrami, president of of SJP and junior in the College of Pharmacy, helped organize the vigil. Bahrami said that while it has crossed her mind that Islamophobia or racism may have been a reason for the killing or a perceived lack of media coverage, she does not want to jump to conclusions.
“I do think it should be a top priority to find out what happened”, Bahrami said.
Fort Wayne Police have ruled out the possibility of the killing being a hate crime.
Bahrami said that SJP organized the event because they were frustrated by a lack of media coverage about the event and wanted to “bring people together to share our thoughts and prayers for (Tairab, Mekki and Omar).”
According to Bahrami, SJP is a student group promoting awareness about injustices in Palestine, although they have participated in projects related to conflicts in other regions as well.
“I just hope that they figure out what happened and why and that the person is convicted and that justice is brought,” Bahrami said. “The families deserve that more than anything.”