Father of Chapel Hill victims calls the killings a “hate crime”

The father of two Muslim women who were shot dead in North Carolina on Tuesday has called the killings a “hate crime.”

Dr Mohammad Abu-Salha said that whatever triggered the killings he considered that hatred of Islam was surely involved. “It was execution style, a bullet in every head,” he told a local paper, the News & Observer.

“This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime. This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt.

Craig Stephen Hicks used his Facebook page to express his disdain for religions. “I give your religion as much respect as your religion gives me,” he wrote.

Pressure on the police to investigate the killings as a hate crime has also been applied by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“I find it hard to believe a parking dispute alone would result in an execution-style murder of three people,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “There has to be other factors involved.”

The suspect
The suspect

Others in the community said it appeared the police were trying to minimize the religious factor in the murder.

“They don’t know yet if it’s a hate crime,” said Anna Bigelow, associate professor of Islamic Studies at N.C. State. “It’s irresponsible not to account for that possibility. The Muslim community has a legitimate reason to feel vulnerable and to have that vulnerability respected as part of their civil rights.”

But Karen Hicks, the suspect’s wife, said on Wednesday that her husband’s actions went no further than an ongoing dispute over parking at the residence.

“I can say that it is my absolute belief that this incident had nothing to do with religion or the victim’s faith, but in fact was related to long-standing parking disputes my husband had with various neighbors regardless of their race, religion or creed,” Ms Hicks said in a statement.

Mr Hicks appeared in court on Wednesday and remains in custody. He is accused of shooting Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, her husband, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and her 19-year-old sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Police said they had found no evidence of any motivation beyond a confrontation over parking spaces, but that their investigation was continuing.

As you’re here…

5Pillars have one humble request from you…

Thousands of Muslims around the world visit our website for news every day. Due to the unfortunate reality of covering Muslim-related news in a heightened Islamophobic environment, our advertising and fundraising revenues have decreased significantly.

5Pillars is editorially and financially independent, with no sectarian or political allegiance to any particular group or movement. Our journalism has been exclusively grassroots focussed and our sole purpose is to defend Islam and Muslims in the media.

This makes us unique in comparison to other online Muslim media outlets who are neither independently regulated by a reputable body nor are they managed by qualified journalists.

Our journalism takes time, money and effort to deliver. But we do it because we believe we have a duty to Allah (swt).

You may not agree or like everything we publish. However, which other Muslim news site that is run by experienced journalists will take on the responsibility of being a shield for Islam and Muslims in the media?

If you follow 5Pillars, and you understand its importance in today’s climate, then please support us for as little as £5 a month, it only takes a minute to make a donation. Jazakallah khayran.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:“The best deeds are those done regularly, even if they are small.” [Ibn Mājah]



Add your comments below