By Brittany Plange
On Tuesday Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu Salha, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu Salha were gunned down and killed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Police have arrested and charged Craig Hicks with the murder of the three college students. The police, Hicks attorneys, and the majority of major news media outlets are saying that the motives behind this crime stem from a parking dispute. However, many people around the world including the victim’s family are not only calling this a hate crime but an act of domestic terrorism. It was not until a few days ago that this tragic murder reached national attention due to the media’s idleness on the matter. In the aftermath there have been a number of protests over the issue. President Obama weighed in on the event in a statement released Friday saying that the killings are “outrageous.” He also went on to state that “No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.” That same day the FBI declared it would be starting an investigation on whether or not any federal laws were violated by the crime. Additionally, Palestinian officials have stated they would like to do their own investigation of the murders. The Palestinian foreign minister stated on Saturday, “We consider it a serious indication of the growth of racism and religious extremism which is a direct threat to the lives of hundreds of thousands of American citizens who follow the Islamic faith.” While officials seem to be doing their best to bring justice to the victims the rhetoric and behavior exhibited by the media has been disturbing to say the least. This hate crime is one of many that will happen this year to innocent civilians. Since September 11, 2001 there are around 500 hate crimes against Muslims every year. These crimes must be stopped. It is up to us as the next generation and future leaders of this nation to spark change. It is up to us to make sure their lives were not taken in vain.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson
While these words have not been upheld fully in this country to every person, they hold truth and value in them. We must always continue the fight of freedom and equality.
R.I.P. Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha, and Razan Mohammad Abu Salha.