A winter of publicly protested violence continued this month when three Muslim students were targeted, shot, and killed outside their home in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Feb. 10.
Craig Hicks (46) is accused of killing the three Muslim students, Deah Barakat (23), his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha (21), and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha (19) in the housing complex where they all lived. After shooting the three students, Hicks went to police station and turned himself in; he is now being charged with first-degree murder.
Hicks has stated that the dispute leading to the murders began with a fight over a parking spot outside the complex, and the fight escalated into violence. The FBI has recently become involved, exploring the possibility of this case being a hate crime against Muslim citizens.
Similar to the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, this act of violence has also caused public outcry over the lack of press given to the murders. The Twitter hashtag “#MuslimLivesMatter” began trending the day after the shooting to express disbelief, rage, and sadness over the religious undertones of this case.
The father of the female victims stated to the press that Yusor had mentioned on a couple of occasions that she was afraid of Hicks because he constantly showed a gun on his belt whenever he would come around their complex.
Mo Idlibby, a friend of the deceased victims, spoke to a CNN reporter about the tragedy involving her friends.
“With the overwhelming evidence is certainly pointed to it being motivated by hate we want to make sure the story is set straight. Three people were not brutally murdered premeditated solely over a parking spot space,” Idlibby stated.
Idlibby went on to explain that all three were proud of their Muslim faith, but they were not the type of people to parade their faith to an outrageous or offensive extent.
Four days after these murders, President Obama stepped in to comment on the issue at hand.
“We are all one family. No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship,” President Obama stated.
According to WRAL News Station, North Carolina State University has created a scholarship called “Our Three Winners” in honor of these three victims.