Three Muslim-Americans were murdered at an apartment complex near the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill on 10 February 2015, in what appears to be an anti-Muslim terrorist attack. All three were shot in the head. Hours after the attack (which occurred at 5pm EST), there was very little media coverage, and no national coverage by any major news outlets. It ultimately took 15-17 hours for leading news outlets to publish stories about the shooting.
Family members have confirmed on social media that the victims were Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha.
Barakat and Yusor had only just been married.
The happy young couple had their entire lives ahead of them.
Yusor had expected to begin a D.D.S. program at the UNC School of Dentistry in 2015, according to her LinkedIn profile. She graduated from North Carolina State University (NCSU) with a Bachelor’s degree in 2014, and was 21 years old.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Barakat had graduated in 2013. Numerous media sources have reported that he was was in his second year of medical school. He was 23.
Barakat had created a Syrian Dental Relief program for Syrian refugee students in Turkey. He has now greatly surpassed his original goal of $20,000.
Razan was an NCSU student of architecture and environmental design. She was still a teenager, at just 19 years of age.
Her last tweet on her Twitter account , on the evening of 9 February, was a Vine video of her friend dancing to music in a car.
Razan also kept a Tumblr blog on which she regularly posted. Her blog looks like it could have been any of ours. Yet she was killed because she practiced a different religion.
Some reputable sources are claiming the three were murdered execution-style. It is hard to verify, because, again, the media has released very little information.
Nine hours after the attack, local media finally reported that 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks had turned himself in to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office in Pittsboro, NC. He was charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
From what is very likely alleged killer Craig Hicks’ Facebook page, it appears that he was incredibly, one might say obsessively, opposed to religion.
Media sources are claiming the attack may have begun as a “parking dispute.” This ignores Craig Hicks’ fanatical anti-religious sentiment. It also does not explain why Hicks felt it necessary to settle this purported parking dispute through murder. Two of the victims, as women who wear the hijab, were visibly Muslim. Given Hicks’ extreme anti-religious tendencies, it should be assumed the religion of the victims played an important role in his targeting them.
Police reportedly gave the family of the victims a hard time.
Just hours after the attack, prominent Brazilian political cartoonist Carlos Latuff published a piece criticizing the media for its incredibly slow response.
The national corporate media’s response has been lackluster and has left much to be desired, to say the least.
Family members of the victims made a Facebook page to honor their memory: Our Three Winners. In just 10 hours, it garnered over 30,000 likes.
In spite of the uncertainty that remains, one thing is clear: If the victims had been white Christians, the story would have been on every channel and every news site. And if they had been white Christians murdered by a Muslim, the entire country would have gone on lock-down and we would hear about the attack non-stop for the next month.
Islamophobia kills. Literally. And the racist media is allowing these anti-Muslim terrorists to kill civilians without national outrage.
Always challenge Islamophobia, wherever you see it, because it leads to horrific crimes like this.