Arab American Man Murdered by Racist Neighbor, Police Still Won't Call it a Hate Crime
BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer
An Arab American man was fatally shot on his porch by his racially charged neighbor in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Friday night. Khalid Jabara, 37, was a Lebanese Christian who had a history of unpleasant exchanges with his neighbor.
Reports after the shooting indicate that Jabara’s neighbor, Stanley Vernon Majors, 61, had called the victim a “dirty Arab” before pointing an illegally obtained gun at him. After the murder, Majors fled the scene, but was quickly found hiding behind a tree at a nearby school and was arrested. Majors was restricted from owning a gun, so he is being charged with first-degree murder and firearm possession. His bond is set at $300,000.
A neighbor who witnessed the murder ran outside and saw Khalid get shot again. Majors then pointed the gun to the witness, who screamed at Majors to leave. Police found beer by the scene, indicating that Majors was “somewhat” intoxicated when he pulled the trigger.
On Monday, Assistant District Attorney John David Luton said it was too early to charge Majors with a hate crime, but statements by Jabara’s family indicate that the suspect has been harassing their family for years. Eight minutes before Majors shot Jabara, the victim called the police to say he felt threatened by his neighbor.
In a statement released on Monday by Jabara’s sister Victoria, she said Majors often referred to her family as “Dirty Arabs,” “filthy Lebanese,” “Aye-rabs,” and “Mooslems”. Victoria Jabara also said in a separate statement that Majors harassed other neighbors, as well, calling them “filthy Mexican” and “the ‘n’ word”.
It’s not surprise that Majors has a long criminal record. In 2009, he was sentenced to 16 months in prison for threatening to “terrorize” Los Angeles. Shortly after he was released, he moved to Oklahoma. In 2013, Haifa Jabara, Khalid’s mother, issued a protective order against Majors because he had been sexually and racially harassing her. Majors allegedly stalked Haifa, knocked on her windows late at night, taking pictures of her, and harassing her over the phone.
Majors responded to Haifa’s protective order by filing his own against her son, accusing Khalid of harassment, vandalism, trespassing, and blackmail.
Nine months later in September 2015, Majors ran over Haifa Jabara with his car while she was out jogging, breaking her shoulder, nose, and ankle, as well as causing her lung to collapse. At the time of this incident, Majors had called Haifa a “filthy Lebanese”. He claimed he hit her because he was avoiding a rabbit, but was extremely drunk at the time and even chugged a beer while police tried to arrest him.
Majors sat in jail for eight months for this charge until he paid his $60,000 bond and returned to his home. He is set to stand trial for hitting Haifa with his car in March 2017.
Tulsa police Capt. Shellie Seibert said Majors was “fixated on the family for a long time,” yet was still allowed to return to his home right next to them after being released. It was more than a fixation that caused the early death of Khalid Jabara – it was pure hate and bigotry. Victoria Jabara said her brother’s death was preventable if Majors’ bail had been set higher, or if he was forced to wear an ankle tether to monitor his alcohol intake.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is wondering how Majors was able to harass the Jabara family and others in the neighborhood, for so many years.
Arabs across the world are reacting to this incident, calling it a clear act of terrorism, hate, and racism. The hashtag #Justice4Khalid began trending on Twitter where Arab Americans are showing their solidarity with the Jabara family.
Muslims & Christians alike, we need to organize TOGETHER against the bigotry in the US. #Justice4khalid
— Tina A. (@tina3oun) August 16, 2016
— Jasmine El-Gamal (@jasmineelgamal) August 16, 2016
where’s the media coverage at tho? #Justice4Khalid
— Afreen (@afreen_nh) August 15, 2016
This heinous incident is evidence of the growing anti-Arab sentiment in the country, which has increased significantly in the past year. No Arab American should have to worry about their safety or move out of their home because of racist neighbors like Majors.
Furthermore, the lack of reporting on this issue from mainstream media is also concerning. Major media outlets often do not portray Arab Americans as victims, despite the fact that the community is facing increased harassments and assault at schools, mosques, restaurants, and rallies.