Religious and community leaders outraged by last week’s so-called knockout game incident gathered Sunday to call for an end to racially motivated violence.
“It’s an assault,” activist Deric Muhammad said Sunday. “It’s a crime against an innocent person.”
Religious and community leaders, primarily from the black community, crowded around Muhammad in the Houston office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to call for an end to random violence, particularly when motivated by racism or religious hatred, and to stop referring to the attacks as a game.
Last week, Conrad Barrett, 27, of Katy was charged with a hate crime punishable by 10 years in federal prison and sparked a discussion among area leaders already concerned about community violence. Barrett allegedly spent a week “hunting for African-Americans to prey on” and videotaped himself punching a 79-year-old black man four days before Thanksgiving, prosecutors said in court Friday when a federal judge denied Barrett bail.
“We have to be aware there are people with hatred toward specific minorities who will use ‘knockout’ as their means to express t
heir ill feelings,” said Mustafaa Carroll, executive director of CAIR, pointing to a similar attack on a Muslim woman in London.
E.A. Deckard, pastor of Greenhouse International Church, said Houston must “knockout the knockout game.”
Along with others, Deckard called for expanded educational and recreational activities for youth to make such bad choices seem less appealing and for parents to do more to outline right from wrong, good from evil.
Robert Muhammad, student minister with the Nation of Islam, tied the random attack and other violence nationwide to “disruptive young men.” He condemned a culture that, for instance, celebrates video games where players garner points for committing crimes and gives young men not enough positive alternatives for their free time.
“I am on the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation,” Robert Muhammad said. “We are afraid of Generation X and Generation Y. We are afraid of children and our grandchildren.”