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On the night of February 10, Deah Shaddy, his wife Yusor Mohammad, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, three Muslim Americans, were shot execution style in their home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Both Shaddy and Mohammad were graduates from North Carolina State University and Abu-Salha was a sophomore. Mohammad was enrolled at UNC’s Dental School and Shaddy planned to attend the same dental school in the fall. Both Shaddy and Mohammad were involved with Syrian Dental Relief, an organization that aims “to provide dental care to refugee students in Rihaniya, Turkey, increase dental health literacy within schools and refugee camps and raise funds to support local dentists (Youcaring.com).”
At a candle light vigil held at UNC on February 11, the victims were remembered as honest, caring people who worked hard to help others. Friends and families shared stories of their generosity, love and hope for a better world. Deah Shaddy’s brother asked the crowd to not fight ignorance with ignorance, reminding everyone of the legacy his brother was leaving behind. The chancellors from both UNC and NC State reflected on the event, calling for students, faculty and community members to rely on one another through this grim time.
Police are quoted saying that Craig Stephen Hicks, the shooter, claims this crime was committed because of a parking spot, and the idea of this being a hate crime is only speculative as the case is continuing to unfold. Some feel that the message is that Muslims can only be terrorists and not victims of terror.
People immediately began questioning the media coverage that was following the shooting, speculating that had the shooter been a Muslim and the victims white, news broadcasting systems like CNN would have immediately reported the horrific incident. CNN published an article at around 11:45 AM on January 11, but interestingly enough, the names of the victims aren’t listed until the sixth paragraph, whereas the shooter is named in the third.
It’s encouraging to see the response to the shooting from the student body at UNC. It is clear that the millennial generation will not stand for injustice, racism, and intolerance. There is no explanation for this crime other than hate. This is a clear example of Islamophobia, hatred and ignorance.
For social media coverage, you can track the following hashtags on Twitter: #ChapelHillShooting #ChapelHillMurder #MuslimLivesMatter