World Bulletin / News Desk
A family of three young Muslims have been shot dead in their home in a quiet neighbourhood of North Carolina in the US, in an apparent hate crime.
Police have named the victims as 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.
It is believed that all three were from Syria.
Barakat and Mohammad, had reportedly gotten married recently.
Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, is being held in the Durham County Jail on three counts of first-degree murder.
Police officers found the victims dead at the scene, after responding to a report of gunshots on Summerwalk Circle at 5:11 p.m. Tuesday.
The shooting has been met with an outpouring of anger on social media, where people posting new pictures of the victims studying and playing basketball claimed they had been “murdered execution style”, according to the Independent report.
An American football and basketball fan, Mr Barakat was believed to be a dental student at the University of North Carolina and volunteered with a charity providing emergency dental care to children in Palestine.
The three victims were recently pictured together at the graduation of his sister-in-law, Razan, who ran a blog showing her interest in photography and art.
According to the Independent, she had started a degree at North Carolina State University last summer, studying Architecture and Environmental Design, and her Twitter biography read: “I like buildings and other stuff.”
A community Facebook page set up in the memory of the three victims, called “Our Three Winners”, thanked people for their support and said it would carry “official announcements”.
A new hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter started to trend on Twitter in response to the shooting.
The Chapel Hill shooting is being seen as an anti-Muslim terrorist attack.
Social media users have expressed concern over little media coverage on the incident.
"Three Muslim-Americans were murdered at a condominium complex near the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill on 10 February 2015, in what appears to be an anti-Muslim terrorist attack. Eight hours after the attack (which occurred at 5pm EST), there is still very little media coverage, and no national coverage by any major news outlets," journalist Ben Norton said on his Twitter account.
Since 9/11, American Muslims, estimated between six to seven million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was targeting their faith.
"Muslims only newsworthy when "behind a gun. Not in front it." Lack of coverage on Chapel Hill murders confirms this," Khalid Beydoun, a law professor at Barry University in Florida, posted on Twitter.
Similarly Sana Saeed, a producer for AJ Plus, an offshoot of Al Jazeera, posted: "Incredible that major news networks have yet to talk about the #ChapelHillShooting. Absolutely shameful. This is how Islamophobia operates."
Last Mod: 11 Şubat 2015, 13:09