The Muslim College Students Murdered In Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, has been charged in the deaths of three college students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina yesterday evening, in what many see as a hate crime, because all three victims were Muslim. Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill, Yusor Mohammad, 21, of Chapel Hill, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh, were found dead at an apartment complex shortly after 5 p.m. yesterday; all three had been shot in the head. Hicks, who is white, turned himself into police and is being held without bail. His social media history indicates Hick is an atheist who recently posted on Facebook, “People say nothing can solve the Middle East problem, not mediation, not arms, not financial aid. I say there is something. Atheism.” This, coupled with the fact that the three victims were Muslim and the two women, in particular, often wore religious garb, prompted many to speculate that the trio — a husband and wife and her sister — were murdered because of their religion. As news of the murders spread on social media, the hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter was created in an effort to draw media attention to this tragedy.

“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,” Nihad Awad,  the Council for American-Islamic Relations’ National Executive Director,  said in a statement. “Our heartfelt condolences go to the families and loved ones of the victims and to the local community.”

All three victims were described as well-liked in their community. Baraket was a dental student who was involved with a charity which provides dental services to impoverished communities. He married his wife, Yusor Mohammad, in December; she too was planning to study dentistry. And her sister, Abu-Salha was a student at NC State. Our condolences go out to their families.

[Washington Post]

[The Blaze]