What is important about Naeem Davis’ biography?

What is important about Naeem Davis’ biography?

by Sheila Musaji


Anyone who watches the news is aware that on Monday, there was a tragedy on the New York subway.  Ki-Suck Han, was pushed by another man and fell onto the tracks and was hit by an oncoming train.

A photographer from the New York Post was on the platform and took a photograph just seconds before the train hit Mr. Han.  That photograph was published on the front page of that paper.

A man named Naeem Davis has been identified as the man who pushed Mr. Han, and has been arrested on second degree murder charges

There are a lot of questions that law enforcement will need to find answers for.  There is an existing video that may help them understand more of exactly what happened.  There were many witnesses who will certainly be interviewed. 

From the hundreds of articles written about this story - these are the facts that we know so far. 

Mr. Han (58) was a Korean immigrant who was currently unemployed.  “A witness, Leigh Weingus, told The New York Times that Han appeared to be aggressive toward Davis. “The victim kept saying “Hey! Hey!’ at the suspect, getting closer and closer to him,” she said. “At first Davis appeared calm, saying `I don’t know you, you don’t know me, get out of my face.”  Han’s wife had said she had argued with her husband that morning and that he had been drinking.”  Associated Press

Mr. Davis (30) is an immigrant from Sierra Leone.  He is a homeless man with a long arrest record mostly for theft and drug possession.  He says that he was defending himself when he pushed Mr. Han. 

There has been a lot of discussion about whether or not the photographer should have been taking photographs at all rather than running to help the victim, whether other people on the subway platform could have done something to help, whether the New York Post should have published the photograph at all.  Moral and ethical questions are numerous. 

Pamela Geller chose to publish an article about what she calls the “Muslim subway killer”.  Geller says:  Everybody is talking about the New York Post cover photo showing Ki Suk Han about to be killed by the subway train, but the real story here is yet again being ignored by the mainstream media. The real story here is that Naeem Davis is clearly a devout Muslim, and one who displayed behavior characteristic of jihadis after he committed murder.  ...  Naeem Davis, a Muslim immigrant from Sierra Leone sporting a pious Muslim beard, seemed “very calm, not crazy,” after he murdered Ki Suk Han. As is typical of jihadis, he blamed his victim, making up the preposterous story that this man nearly twice his age attacked him.

This was all supposition at the time Geller’s article was published.  There had been no reports yet about Davis family background, about whether or not he had any connection with Islam,  about whether or not his beard was simply because he was homeless or because of some religious belief, whether or not he had any mental problems.  We do know that he could not be very faithful to any religious belief because of his long criminal record.  We do know that there was some sort of altercation between the two men, but don’t know what it was about.  There are already different witness testimonies that disagree with each other.

After Geller’s article was published, the New York Post published an article that included information from an interview Davis gave to reporters from prison.  Davis identified himself as a Muslim in that interview.  He also said that he has been diagnosed as bi-polar but is not taking his medication, had been smoking marijuana, and that he didn’t mean to kill Mr. Han. 

Rather than being the most important thing about this man, as Pamela Geller seems to think, this man’s religion has nothing to do with the tragedy.  His religion is not proof of anything except that Muslims can be crazy, criminal, or perverted just like any other segment of the population.

There have been many stories in the past few years that attempted to demonize the religion of Islam for the actions of individual Muslims. This habit of trolling the news for any instance of someone with a Muslim name being arrested for any sort of a crime anywhere, and then publishing articles with inflammatory titles like - devout Muslim arrested - Muslim cleric “misunderstands” Islam - Muslim savage beats wife - Islamic supremacist mistreats woman - Muslim parasite on welfare, etc. etc. etc. is becoming pervasive in the Islamophobic echo chamber.

The refusal on the part of anti-Muslim bigots to see the possibility that Muslims are human beings who can also be crazy or criminal — human beings whose actions may be a result of something other than their religion is despicable.

Muslims make up about 2% of the population of the U.S.  Let’s look at just one year — In 2009, there were 1,318,398 violent crimes in the United States; 15,241 murders; 88,097 forcible rapes; 408,217 robberies; 806,843 aggravated assaults; 9,320,971 property crimes; 2,199,125 burglaries; 6,327,230 larcenies; and 794,616 motor vehicle thefts.  It would be reasonable to expect that at least some of these crimes would be committed by Muslims, and certainly some were, but that is not “the story”.


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