Statement on the Murder of Three Young Muslims in North Carolina from the Network Against Islamophobia (NAI)
We mourn the murders yesterday near the campus of the University of North Carolina of three Muslim students, 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat and Yusor Mohammad, 21, who were married in December; and Yusor__s sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, a student at North Carolina State University. A student at UNC__s School of Dentistry, Deah Shaddy Barakat was active in the Miswak Foundation, which supports dental relief missions in underserved areas of the world. Yusor Mohammad, who volunteered with a local dental clinic, was planning to attend UNC dental school in the fall. Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha was a talented young artist who received a college award for her work.
Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, has turned himself in to Chapel Hill police and been charged with three counts of first degree murder. Each victim was shot in the head.
As Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) National Executive Director Nihad Awad said, __Based on the brutal nature of this crime, the past anti-religion statements of the alleged perpetrator, the religious attire of two of the victims, and the rising anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to quickly address speculation of a possible bias motive in this case.__ We join CAIR and others in the Muslim community in grieving the victims and in calling for an investigation into whether this was a hate crime.
__The initial media coverage was largely nonexistent,__ said Elly Bulkin, a co-convener of the Network Against Islamophobia (NAI). __When I first read about the murders this morning, I assumed they had just happened, because I saw no coverage of them last night. The media has started to give this horrific event the attention it deserves. I couldn__t help think that, had a Muslim been arrested for the shooting deaths of three non-Muslims anyplace in the United States, the news would be the lead item on every website and TV news program in the country.__
__Further,__ commented Sydney Levy, Jewish Voice for Peace__s Director of Advocacy, __we must not ignore the fact that they have taken place in a climate of intensifying Islamophobia in the United States.”
We join with the family members and those across the country who are grieving the enormous and tragic loss of these three young people.
The Network Against Islamophobia (NAI), a project of Jewish Voice for Peace, offers support and resources to individuals and groups organizing against Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism. See: https://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/campaigns/standing-against-islamophobia