Outcry after three American Muslims shot dead

A man has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder after the shooting of a young Muslim couple and their sister in America on Tuesday.

One of the slain was a student at North Carolina State University. Another was at the University of North Carolina and the third was planning to enroll at UNC dental school this year.

The alleged shooter, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, turned himself in “without incident” to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office in nearby Pittsboro. Authorities did not specify a motive in the slayings.

Hicks frequently shared links about atheism on what appears to be his Facebook page. One such post reads: “People say nothing can solve the Middle East problem, not mediation, not arms, not financial aid. I say there is something. Atheism.”

The victims, identified in an alert from UNC Chapel Hill as husband and wife Deah Barakat, 23, and Yusor Mohammad, 21, and Mohammad’s sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were shot in the head.

The suspect
The suspect

The victims were described as well-liked in their community. Barakat, a dental student at UNC, was a volunteer for the Miswak Foundation, which provides dental care in impoverished countries. His most recent Facebook post showed him handing out dental supplies to homeless people.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Mohammad, who was planning to become a dental student, also volunteered with a local dental clinic. She and Barakat married in December, according to her Facebook page.

Sign up for regular updates straight to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated on the latest news and updates from around the Muslim world!

In Facebook post, Barakat’s brother Farris mourned the three deaths.

“I haven’t even begun to fully comprehend what has happened. But I know for sure those three together have done so much we are all proud of. No reason to stop being proud now,” he wrote. “God is great. God is greater.”

He added: “We live as Muslims to die as Muslims. May Allah enter them to the highest of paradise.”

The killings sparked outrage on Twitter, where users argued the three had been killed because of their religion. The hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter sprung up overnight, a response to what users saw as the media’s failure to cover the shooting.

Meanwhile, militant atheist Richard Dawkins, who the alleged shooter apparently was a fan of, decried the shooting after Twitter users said he had blood on his hands.

Add your comments below

Previous articleMan who handed in 50k Dirhams in cash said it was his religious duty
Next articleFather of Chapel Hill victims calls the killings a “hate crime”