(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/11/15) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on law enforcement authorities to address speculation about a possible bias motive for the killing of three young Muslims who were shot in the head yesterday in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The alleged killer, 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, has been arrested and charged three counts of first-degree murder. He is accused of shooting Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19. Both female victims are pictured online wearing Islamic head scarves (hijab). No motive for the shootings has been released.
On Facebook, Hicks describes himself as an “anti-theist” and has posted condemnations of all religions. One post, a picture from United Atheists of America, asks “why radical Christians and radical Muslims are so opposed to each others’ influence when they agree about so many ideological issues.”
Reports of the incident led to widespread speculation on social media that the killings were motivated by anti-Muslim bias.
“Based on the brutal nature of this crime, the past anti-religion statements of the alleged perpetrator, the religious attire of two of the victims, and the rising anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to quickly address speculation of a possible bias motive in this case,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Our heartfelt condolences go to the families and loved ones of the victims and to the local community.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, firstname.lastname@example.org