On the evening of Friday, August 12, 37 year old Khalid Jabara was shot dead on the front porch of his family home in Tulsa, OK by a neighbor, following years of ethnically based harassment. Stanley Vernon Majors is being held in custody without bail and will likely be charged with first degree murder and possession of a firearm after conviction of a felony. Majors had a long history of violence and harassment targeting minorities, the Jabara family in particular. He was known to the Tulsa police as “a substantial risk to the public.”
Khalid Jabara’s sister Victoria has released a statement on Facebook explaining the long history of harassment that led her family to live “in fear of [Majors] and his hatred for years.” She reveals that, “This suspect had a history of bigotry against our family. He repeatedly attacked our ethnicity and perceived religion, making racist comments. He often called us ‘dirty Arabs,’ ‘filthy Lebanese,’ ‘Aye-rabs,’ and ‘Mooslems.'” The Jabara family is of Lebanese-Christian descent.
In 2013, Haifa Jabara, mother to Khalid and Victoria, received a protection order from the police against Majors after he had repeatedly harassed her. In 2015, Majors was arrested for violating the protection order after he continued to send death threats and racial slurs to her; he was released from jail on bond. In September 2015, he deliberately ran over Haifa with his car, breaking her shoulders and causing other injuries. Majors was convicted of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, public intoxication, leaving the scene of a collision involving injury, and violating the protective order for a second time.
Despite their awareness of Majors’ consistent harassment and violence against the Jabaras, the police failed to adequately protect them. Majors was a known danger, and on the night of his murder Khalid actually called the police department to warn them that Majors was acting suspiciously and was in possession of a firearm.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is alarmed at the increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the past year. In the case of the Jabaras, they were targeted despite not being Muslims, because their ignorant and bigoted neighbor was falsely stereotyping them on the basis of their skin tone and their geographical background.
This election cycle has seen a public surge of islamophobia and extremist rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants from the Middle East. Majors was a violent bigot before Trump burst on to the scene, but those who share his vile views towards minorities and particularly those they perceive to be Arab, Middle Eastern, or Muslim are becoming emboldened. In some areas, the condemnation of hate crimes has been superseded by condemnation of anything that seems foreign.
Our thoughts are with the Jabara family and the friends of Khalid as they mourn their loss, and we are deeply saddened that hatred and ignorance has taken the life of an American citizen. We hope that Tulsa will finally be safe of the racist, islamophobic tyranny of Vernon Majors.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.