On Tuesday, three Americans Muslims were tragically killed by Craig Stephen Hicks over a dispute about parking. Hicks has since surrendered to police and has been charged with three counts of first degree murder and the Muslim community is in mourning. In a loving show of support, the NAACP released a statement today about the tragedy.
From the Baltimore headquarters, the NAACP stated:
“The NAACP mourns the tragic and senseless loss of [Deah] Shaddy Barakat, 23, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, each of whom were active participants in their communities, studying subjects they loved and planning for their futures. We condemn all acts of violence and racial and religious intolerance. We call on the Chapel Hill Police Department and the Department of Justice for a thorough investigation to ensure that justice is served. Our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the victims and everyone whose lives they touched.”
The deaths of these young lives are already a sorrowful subject, but the racial and cultural prejudice of the incident gives a deeper undertone of Hicks’ violent action. Reports and social media have held the tragedy as another example of anti-Muslim behavior and the father of female victims bluntly called the killings a “hate crime.” Hicks was a Second Amendment (aka, the right to bear arms) advocate and on his Facebook vouched for “Atheists for Equality.”
Barakat was training for a dental care care at University of North Carolina and married to Mohammad. Abu-Salha, her sister, also a student at UNC, studying architecture. Together, they were students and aspiring altruists and past endeavors included working with Muslims Without Borders. Through the organization, Barakat and Mohammad had offered free dental to students in Turkey.
Candlelight vigils for Barakat, Mohammad, and Abu-Salha are being held all this week. On Wednesday, UNC students arranged one, as locals also joined. In Raleigh, NC, a moment of silence was had before the N.C. State University of Virginia basketball game. Another vigil is planned tonight from 6-8PM.