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DALLAS (RNS) — On Oct. 4, we held our last press conference with the family of Botham Jean, who had been shot in his own apartment by a Dallas police officer. Afterward, I drove Botham’s parents to a restaurant, and we talked about the newly established Botham Jean Foundation. They were determined that every day stolen from him would be filled with the charity and kindness that defined Botham’s spirit. It was clear that this family was seeking to move on from the bitterness of their son’s murder.
After I dropped them off, I made my way to the mosque to give my weekly sermon. I spoke about the pain of watching a mother talk about her departed son, citing the story from the Hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sees a bird hovering over him and his companions because her child has been taken from the nest. Seeing her, the prophet said in anger, “Who has caused this mother distress by taking her child?” If the prophet agonized over the pain of a mother bird, what pain should we feel at the pain of a human mother?
Atatiana - Jefferson - Fort - Worth - Botham
Atatiana Jefferson, in nearby Fort Worth, had likely known about the Botham Jean trial and felt that same distress for Botham’s mother. It was her own mother’s illness that had brought Jefferson to Texas from Louisiana in the first place. She was 28, the same age as Botham. And a week later, in the early hours of Saturday (Oct. 12), she too would be killed in her home by a police officer.
Jefferson was hanging out with her 8-year-old nephew, playing video games — Halo, ironically — late into the night. Because the weather was so pleasant, they had left a door open to let in the cool air through the...
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