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Thursday, March 30, 2023


UH Muslim organizations to hold vigil for Chapel Hill shooting victims

The UH Muslim Student Association and the UH chapter of the United Muslim Relief will host a vigil from 5 to 8 p.m. today on the corner of Westheimer Road and Post Oak Boulevard for the victims of the Chapel Hill shooting — Deah Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19 — who were shot to death in their condominium complex near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, on Feb. 10. Hicks has been arrested on three counts of first-degree murder.

While some say this murder occurred over a parking spot, many see this as a hate crime. The lack of media coverage on this incident has also upset many.

“These shots were heard around the world,” said accounting junior Safra Khan. “This is not the first time a hate crime has been committed due to Islamaphobia. However, this is the first one to receive worldwide attention.”

Barakat was a second-year student in UNC’s School of Dentistry, Yusor planned to begin her dental studies in the fall and Razan was a sophomore at North Carolina State University studying architecture and environmental design. Barakat and Yusor were also part of the founding team of UMR’s community chapter in North Carolina’s Triangle area. Barakat was an active member of UMR’s dental relief team by taking part in a mission to Palestine that treated children with special needs. Razan was a current officer for UMR triangle where she organized monthly feedings for the homeless in downtown Raleigh.

“When we first started planning this event, we never would have expected such an amazing response from the Houston community,” said Javid Sultan, MSA president and petroleum engineer junior. “I feel like this is because almost everyone knows a person like Deah, Razan and Yusor in their lives. They were such beautiful, selfless people who dedicated their lives for the betterment of others. They took out time from their lives to help the community, worked with children, and spent months overseas to help the poor.

“I can easily name hundreds of friends who share similar attributes to these three individuals, and I would be truly heartbroken if any of them were to pass away in a fashion similar to this.”

UMR secretary and biology junior Hafsah Hameed said the murders are a wake-up call.

“Living doesn’t just mean get up, eat, work, sleep, do it again,” Hameed said.  “It means looking after one another like these three did, whether in our communities or abroad. It means spreading good deeds and care and love, and I really know that if they could see that message being spread, they would be so happy where they are.”

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