Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | Muslims | Chapel Hill | NC | shooting | deaths

Muslim Rights Activist: Don't Prejudge Chapel Hill Murders

By    |   Friday, 13 February 2015 07:39 PM

The investigation into the shooting deaths of three young Muslims in North Carolina must run its course before anyone — police included — can assert that a simple parking dispute, and not ethnic or religious hatred, led to the killings, an American Muslim activist told Newsmax TV on Friday.

"There are four people who know what really happened. Three of them are dead. And at this point it makes sense to let law enforcement un-turn every stone and make sure that every avenue is exhausted," blogger and Muslim rights advocate Raquel Evita Saraswati told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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President Barack Obama on Friday denounced the "brutal and outrageous murders," which have attracted international attention as well as scrutiny from the FBI as a potential hate crime.

Police in Chapel Hill., N.C., said the victims — a husband, wife, and her sister, ages 19-23, two of them college students — were each shot in the head Wednesday at their condominium complex in an encounter with Craig Stephen Hicks, who was reportedly angry about access to parking.

Hicks, a 46-year-old paralegal student, turned himself in, police said. His wife publicly apologized, and told reporters that Hicks needed mental health treatment but was not a racist and that, as an atheist, he was skeptical of all religions.

But the victims' family members said the parking space in dispute wasn't even occupied on Wednesday, and that Hicks had repeatedly menaced their loved ones, sometimes brandishing firearms when he came around to complain about parking or noise.

"There is some suspicion that this man maybe took his self-appointed watchman role a little further with this particular group of people," said Saraswati.

The victims are identified as Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, a University of North Carolina dental student; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, a student at North Carolina State University.

Saraswati said that by all accounts the three "did try to give back to their community, talked about being proud Americans, talked about the blessing of growing up in the United States."

She said the outpouring on their behalf, even from strangers, is worth noting.

"While some of the worst of humanity are coming out to comment, some 5,000 people attended the memorial service," said Saraswati. "People have been giving to charity. People have been showing a tremendous amount of love and empathy for this family. And that's really remarkable, and that speaks to the American spirit much more than anything else."

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The investigation into the shooting deaths of three young Muslims in North Carolina must run its course before anyone can assert that a simple parking dispute, and not ethnic or religious hatred, led to the killings, an American Muslim activist told Newsmax TV.
Muslims, Chapel Hill, NC, shooting, deaths, North Carolina, parking space, hate crime
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2015-39-13
Friday, 13 February 2015 07:39 PM
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