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Slayings Of 3 In North Carolina Arouse Muslim Fears

National News Tribune News Service

Slayings Of 3 In North Carolina Arouse Muslim Fears


By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — They were young newlyweds — Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, a dental student at the University of North Carolina, and his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, soon to enter the same dental program.

He sent dental kits to Syrian refugees and helped the homeless. She was an honor student. He was Syrian-American and she was Palestinian-American. Both were U.S.-born.

And they had complained to their families about an angry, aggressive upstairs neighbor well-known to residents for confronting neighbors about parking spots and noise.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the couple and Mohammad’s 19-year-old sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, were shot and killed inside their apartment in a leafy neighborhood two miles from campus. Authorities charged their upstairs neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, with three counts of first-degree murder in what they said was an ongoing dispute over a parking space. The shooting will also be investigated to determine whether religious hatred played a role because of the victims’ Muslim faith.

Barakat’s sister, Suzanne Barakat, spoke Wednesday of “execution-style murders” and demanded that authorities “investigate these senseless and heinous murders as a hate crime.” National Muslim activist groups also called for a hate-crime investigation as photos of the three victims — with the two women wearing head scarves — went viral worldwide on social media under the hashtag #muslimlivesmatter.

News of the shooting caused revulsion across Europe and the Middle East, where it energized long-standing fears among Muslims that the violent loss of Muslim lives would not get the same attention by the mainstream media as killings of white or Christian people. “U won’t see this on the news because it’s about a Muslim,” one user tweeted overnight, in a sentiment that was retweeted more than 1,400 times and widely shared across other social media.
Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue pledged in a statement that investigators would “exhaust every lead to determine” whether the killings were motivated by hatred.

“It is a question of what we find — motive, facts — things that need to be confirmed and will be part of the decision-making process,” said Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols, who will consider the possibility of hate-crime charges.

Lt. Joshua Mecimore said a preliminary investigation indicated “that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking.”

When Namee Barakat, father of Deah Shaddy Barakat, was asked whether his son and the two women were killed because they were Muslim, he said, “Very possibly.”

“This is more than just about parking,” Barakat said. “Three people get shot in the head. The death penalty would not be enough.”

Hicks made his first court appearance Wednesday morning and was ordered held without bail after a five-minute hearing. A probable-cause hearing was set for March 4.

Hicks nodded when asked whether he understood the charges. Echols said no decision had been made on whether to seek the death penalty.

Hicks was described by neighbors as an angry, hulking figure who exploded in rage over parking spaces and noise in a neighborhood where parking is at a premium in the evenings.

“He was very disgruntled, very aggressive. He would scream at people,” said Samantha Maness, 25, a technical college student who lives across a small parking lot from the building where Hicks and two of the three slain students lived.

“He made everyone feel uncomfortable and unsafe,” Maness said Wednesday.

Maness said she never heard Hicks refer to anyone’s religion or race. “He had equal-opportunity anger toward all the residents,” she said.

Karen Hicks, the suspect’s wife of seven years, denied that he had acted out of hatred.

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

A Facebook profile bearing Craig Hicks’ name and photo paints a portrait of a vehement atheist who shared anti-Muslim and anti-Christian posts and links.

“I have every right to insult a religion that goes out of its way to insult, to judge, and to condemn me as an inadequate human being — which your religion does with self-righteous gusto,” it says under the “religious views” portion of the profile, not indicating whether it’s talking about a particular faith.

A banner photo on the Facebook page promotes “anti-theism” and says, “I don’t deny you your right to believe whatever you’d like; but I have the right to point out it’s ignorant and dangerous for as long as your baseless superstitions keep killing people.”

Suzanne Barakat said her family “wept tears of joy” when her brother and sister-in-law, an honors architecture student at North Carolina State University, were married Dec. 27.

“Today,” she said, “we are crying tears of unimaginable pain. … We are in a state of shock and will never be able to make sense of this horrendous tragedy.”
(Times staff writers Michael Muskal and Matt Pearce contributed to this report from Los Angeles.)

Photo: UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt speaks to hundreds of mourners gathered in on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. A vigil service for Deah Barakat; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha; and her sister Razan Abu-Shala was held after the three were killed in a triple homicide on Tuesday. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer/TNS)



  1. Dominick Vila February 13, 2015

    It is hard to believe, but perhaps not surprising, that things like this are still happening in the USA. Regardless of whether the murder was influenced by a dispute over a parking spot in an apartment complex, or was influenced by religious fanaticism, the bottom line is that a man armed with a lethal weapons murdered three unarmed young people.
    When are we going to understand that putting lethal weapons in the hands of fanatics, criminals or mentally ill people facilitate murder?

    1. gunslinger February 13, 2015

      Is facilitating the murder of unborn babies a “hate crime” or just a crime? Putting abortion tools in the hands of some Doctors whom swore an oath to sustain life at all costs is a greater crime than at the hands of someone mentally ill. You libs never want to discriminate so why not a nut with a gun?

      1. Dominick Vila February 13, 2015

        Since I only support abortion when the life of the mother is at risk, I think you should direct your question to someone else. The right to bear arms is a constitutional right, however, that does not mean we should no apply logic to this issue. I doubt very seriously the Founding Fathers believed every crazy person, or criminals, in this country should have been allowed to buy, carry a gun, and shoot innocent people.

      2. Sand_Cat February 16, 2015

        Isn’t calling oneself gunslinger and promoting religious violence a “hate crime,” besides being stupid?

    2. Allan Richardson February 14, 2015

      For parking disputes you go to Small Claims Court, not get a gun. Unless you are a sociopath who puts any minor annoyance to you on a level to justify taking the lives of others. Does anyone think he would have dared to attack “white” people (meaning people who are not Muslim and do not “look Muslim” to him) and then used that as a justification?

  2. docb February 13, 2015

    For good reason…


    The extremists among us are not who fux et al want to blame

  3. Daley Butler February 13, 2015

    They have a right to be concerned. because there are many from within and outside the Muslim religion who are hell bent on destroying Islam as it was intended to be.The Muslim radicals being the most obvious, they are not true Islamists. The extreme right wing Christians in America are just as bad, just not as active.Both groups will find a way to spin this incident for their own beliefs. As I examine the historical issues that created turmoil and wars in this world I can’t help be believe that there is a great religious conflict in our future. We ignore the signs at our own peril.

    1. gunslinger February 13, 2015

      Thank you Mr. Atheist for your participation in todays battle of the religious freedom games. We have a lovely parting gift for all of our players … a revolver to play (Russian roulette) with free ammunition for you and your friends. Daley doodle wacker says everyone put down your Bibles and worship him

      1. David February 13, 2015

        you go first with my Makarov

      2. Sand_Cat February 16, 2015

        “Daley doodle wacker” has more brains than 10 idiots like you combined. But we’re all glad to see you take a strong stand in favor of religion. Maybe you’ll wake somebody up.

  4. David February 13, 2015

    As the NRA knows full well, if we deny weapons to the mentally ill it is a slippery slope that will eventually lead to the disarming of folks who are just too terrified to go to Walmart or Target without an assault rifle and an 80 round drum. And that could lead to say Starbucks going bankrupt.

    1. gunslinger February 13, 2015

      Do you mean the same NRA (the oldest civil rights organization in the U.S.) that represents the rights of U.S. citizens under the Second Amendment our great Constitution? Here’s what bro, the only reason we don’t have radical Muslim uprisings here is because of our known gun culture whereas if you are going to harm someone… you might end up paying for it with your life plain and simple! Many might fear going around unarmed because of the number of illegals allowed to enter the country freely w/o us knowing who they are! The libs want background checks for gun purchases but turn their heads when it comes to documenting the background and movement of illegal aliens. God forbid, we don’t want to offend anyone in our “politically correct” world unless of course it’s law abiding legal citizen taxpayers! Denying privileges to people with mental problems is DISCRIMINATION. You must be a racist!

      1. Sand_Cat February 16, 2015

        I think the intelligent people are far, far more concerned about uprisings of gun nuts who think they’re the reason we don’t have Muslim uprisings.

  5. 2ThinkN_Do2 February 13, 2015

    Sad to say, but the Ultimate Penalty needs to be served swiftly. It appears we have undeniable evidence of guilt. Whether it was hate based or anger based, it was cold blooded murder. It’s not the first time I’ve read violence involved with parking spaces, happens in Chicago and the nearby suburbs where parking is a nightmare as well. Our society needs a time out, the train of madness appears to be running down hill with no brakes or incline in sight. Peace be with all those who lost one’s they loved.

  6. Leftout February 13, 2015

    He should have beheaded them, in line with Sharia Law, it is a misdemenor case of work place violence , or no point traffic summons

    1. Leftout February 13, 2015

      Swiftly as the shooter at Fort Hood, a minor case of work place

      1. Sand_Cat February 16, 2015


        1. Leftout February 16, 2015

          Sand got in your eyes??

  7. Whatmeworry February 13, 2015

    No question that killing of those 3 moooslims is enough to quite tensions in the US but its a start

    1. Daniel Max Ketter February 13, 2015

      Well that’s not nice. My boy Lewis is married to a woman of Muslim ancestry, and she’s a very good daughter in law. It’s a hate crime and the white trash who did this should be charged and sentenced to death!

    2. Staci Kittern Disbrow February 13, 2015

      Man, you is white trash child!

    3. Sand_Cat February 16, 2015

      No doubt who’s a bigoted scumbag, either.

      1. Whatmeworry February 16, 2015

        Barak is our president why call him names?

        1. Whatmeworry February 17, 2015

          Barack is my president

      2. Whatmeworry February 17, 2015

        Whatmeworry Dan Ketter

  8. Whatmeworry February 13, 2015

    No question that killing of those 3 moooslims is enough to quite tensions in the US but its a bad start

    1. Daniel Max Ketter February 13, 2015

      I don’t agree.

  9. Daniel Max Ketter February 13, 2015

    Too much hatred and bigotry toward Muslim folks in this country.


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