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Old 02-11-2015
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Default Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

By JONATHAN M. KATZ and RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑAFEB. 11, 2015


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — It was a little after 5 p.m., a quiet time in a quiet neighborhood, before many people had returned home from work on Tuesday, when two women called 911 to report multiple gunshots and screams echoing through a condominium complex here near the University of North Carolina.

By the time the police arrived, three people were dead — a newlywed couple and the woman’s sister. They were young university students, Muslims of Arab descent, and high achievers who regularly volunteered in the area. A neighbor, a middle-age white man, was missing — then under arrest and charged with three counts of murder.

The victims’ families described it as a hate crime. The police said that the shooting appeared to be motivated by “an ongoing neighborhood dispute over parking,” but that they were investigating whether religious hatred contributed to the killing.

“To have him come in here and shoot three different innocent people in their head — I don’t know what kind of person that is,” said Namee Barakat, the father of one of the male victim, Deah Shaddy Barakat.

The killings immediately set off a debate throughout the world over whether the students had been targeted because of their religion, with Muslims picking up some of the language of those who protested police shootings in the United States, using the phrase #muslimlivesmatter.

Even as Chapel Hill awoke on Wednesday, frustration had already spread on Twitter throughout Europe and Asia, as Muslims as far away as Indonesia shared photographs and details of the victims’ lives.

The Chapel Hill police quickly attempted to tamp down the fears, releasing a morning statement that identified parking as the cause of the dispute, without confirming whether the victims were shot in the head. The police chief, Chris Blue, also added: “We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case.”

In the afternoon, Ripley Rand, the United States attorney for the region, also said the shooting appeared to be “an isolated incident,” and was “not part of a targeted campaign against Muslims.”

Friends and neighbors struggled to make sense of what happened. Those who knew the victims — identified as Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; her husband, Mr. Barakat, 23; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19 — said they were all model students from well-educated, successful local families.

They had nonetheless run into previous problems over parking with the man who was arrested, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, a former car parts salesman who was studying to be a paralegal at Durham Technical Community College.

He was one of their neighbors. They lived on opposite sides of the two-story Finley Forest complex on Summerwalk Circle, where the shooting occurred — a condominium complex tucked into the woods about a mile and a half east of the main University of North Carolina campus. Residents said Mr. Hicks’s apartment was adjacent the main parking lot; the students lived on the other side, where little parking could be found.

Mohammad Yousif Abu-Salha, the father of the two women who were killed, said Yusor had told him that she and her husband had been harassed for their appearance by a neighbor who was wearing a gun on his belt. On his Facebook page, Mr. Hicks recently posted a photo of what he said was his .38-caliber, five-shot revolver.

A friend of Yusor said she knew that Mr. Hicks had complained to the couple before about making noise and their visitors using parking spaces, and that he once came to their door carrying a rifle.

It is not clear whether they ever called the police about the altercations.

Their Facebook pages and other material online show a cheerful trio who were devoted to family and charitable work. Mr. Barakat was a second-year student at the university’s graduate school of dentistry, and his wife was set to enroll in the same school later this year. Her sister was an undergraduate at North Carolina State University, who had recently won an award for her artistic talents.

“They were gems of their communities, and left a lasting impression on the people around them,” Suzanne Barakat, a sister of Deah Barakat, said Wednesday, reading a brief statement flanked by several tearful family members. “We are still in a state of shock, and will never be able to make sense of this horrendous tragedy.”

Mr. Hicks, appeared to have a deep dislike of all religion. On his Facebook page, nearly all of his posts expressed support for atheism, criticism of Christian conservatives or both.

Last month, he posted a photo that said, “Praying is pointless, useless, narcissistic, arrogant, and lazy; just like the imaginary god you pray to.”

Mr. Hicks’ wife, Karen, insisted at a news conference that her husband was not a bigot. “I can say with absolute belief that this incident had nothing to do with religion or the victims’ faith, but it was related to a longstanding parking dispute that my husband had with the neighbors,” she said.

His wife also pointed out his support for gay rights and the right to abortion.

But her comments, and the Police Department’s caution about what was behind the fatal confrontation did not convince relatives of the dead who were familiar with details of the episode. One 911 caller, at 5:11 p.m. on Tuesday, said she heard five to 10 shots and “kids screaming.” Another, calling a minute later, said she had heard about eight shots and multiple people screaming, then a pause, and then three more shots.

The victims were shot inside an apartment, according to one of the calls, and family members said the police told them they were shot in the head.

Mr. Barakat questioned the premise that a parking dispute alone could cause such a brutal killing. “We all know it’s about more than that, unfortunately,” he said.

Many Muslims in the area of North Carolina known as the Research Triangle, where universities and technology companies are major employers, said they have been on edge in recent weeks. Although the area is dotted with mosques and interfaith events are a staple at universities and houses of worship, tensions have been rising since the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, according to several Muslim leaders. Last month, Duke University abruptly canceled plans to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer on Fridays, citing security concerns, after Franklin Graham, the son of the evangelist Billy Graham, raised vehement objections on Facebook.

Broadcasting the call to prayer from a church bell tower, intended as a symbol of religious inclusion, instead became a source of religious division.

“There is a tendency to say ‘This is a nice place, these eruptions of violence don’t belong here,’ “ said Omid Safi, director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center and a professor of Islamic studies. “And yet here we are. This is, in all of the heartbreak and violence and sadness, where we are.”

Linda Sarsour, a longtime Arab-American activist in Brooklyn, who said she was working with the family, added that for those who already fear mistreatment, the episode “sends a message to other young people in the Muslim community that the fear is valid.”

Much of their rage online addressed a perceived double standard by the news media, with posts saying that the killing of three Muslims was not receiving much attention.

In fact, the police did not release the names of the victims or the accused until after 2 a.m. Wednesday; Mr. Hicks turned himself in to sheriff’s deputies in Pittsboro, a few miles away, but it was not clear when. During a court appearance Wednesday, a judge ordered him held without bond. By that point, most major American news organizations had reported the story, but that did not slow the allegations of news media neglect.

The use of the #muslimlivesmatter hashtag echoes the #blacklivesmatter hashtag that gained immense popularity after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police officers. Both tap into a sense of grievance in minority communities that feel marginalized and disrespected.

To share the achievements of the slain students, friends and family members created a Facebook page, Our Three Winners, early Wednesday. Several of the posts showed images of Mr. Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha at their wedding.

Friends also praised Mr. Barakat’s work with a charity that provided dental supplies to the poor, and noted that he planned to travel to Turkey to provide dental care to refugees from the civil war in Syria, narrating a video to raise money.

On Wednesday evening, thousands of students, faculty and residents of Chapel Hill and nearby cities packed the central plaza at the U.N.C. campus known as The Pit in a show of solidarity. Some held glowing candles or signs with messages like “End Islamophobia.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/12/us...lina.html?_r=0
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  #2  
Old 02-12-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

Very sad.
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Old 02-12-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

oh well finally my atheists brothers are starting to take care of you religious fanatics.
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Old 02-12-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrimmStabnandez View Post
oh well finally my atheists brothers are starting to take care of you religious fanatics.
Are you sure he wasn't a christian?
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Old 02-12-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by tecpaocelotl View Post
Are you sure he wasn't a christian?
They keep saying he is atheist
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Old 02-12-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

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Originally Posted by GrimmStabnandez View Post
They keep saying he is atheist
Fox News?
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Old 02-12-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

I don't watch Fox news
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Old 02-12-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

Then who is they?
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Old 02-12-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

don't worry about it hippie, I got my sources
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Old 02-12-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

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Originally Posted by GrimmStabnandez View Post
don't worry about it hippie, I got my sources
Hearing voices aren't sources.
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Old 02-12-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

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Talking to yourself isn't a source.
says who
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Old 02-12-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

Christians don't murder people, that's sinning.
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Old 02-12-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

'They' also said parking spaces were a factor.

http://www.wral.com/chapel-hill-murd...pany/14443091/
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Old 02-17-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

Told you he was an atheist
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Old 02-21-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

radical atheists r nothin new.
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Old 02-25-2015
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Default Re: Chapel Hill Shooting Leaves 3 Muslim Students Dead; Neighbor Is Charged

Better than burning people at the stake
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