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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

City

Chapel Hill tragedy brings together people of all races, religions


Dania Vigil

Students gathered on the corner of Westheimer and Post Oak to pay vigil to the victims of the Chapel Hill shooting that occurred on Feb. 10. | Courtesy of Ahmad Asaad/UMR

The UH chapter of United Muslim Relief and UH Muslim Student Association hosted a candlelight vigil to remember and honor the lives of Deah Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21 and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, the victims of the Chapel Hill Shooting on Feb. 10.

“I think this event was a moment for us to unite as Muslims,” said education sophomore Huda Adnan. “We didn’t look at who the next person was. We didn’t look at beliefs; we didn’t look at the things that usually divide us. We just came together, and we said we’re going to commemorate the lives of these young people who were just beyond awesome.”

“Not only was this a reality check, I think it inspired people to get out of their bubbles and do something for the world, like Deah, Yusor and Razan did.”

Vigil

1,500 people participated in a vigil to honor the victims. | Courtesy of Ahmad Assad/UMR

While the media is calling the incident a parking dispute, many are calling it a hate crime. Around 1,500 people participated in the vigil, and others gathered in solidarity along all four corners of Westheimer Road and Post Oak Boulevard holding candles and posters to bring awareness to the incident and join together to remember the lives that were taken.

“The vigil was put on by MSA and UMR in less than a week, and the community was really responsive. It’s pretty amazing to see people come together like this,” said broadcast journalism senior Sayed Hamideh.

“It’s a very tragic incident, especially when three people are killed for what they believe in. It’s just a shame that someone comes here for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, just for that opportunity and then they get gunned down for such a thing.”

Barakat, Yusor and Razan were three individuals who dedicated their lives to service. Barakat and Yusor served as founding members of the UMR’s community chapter in North Carolina’s Triangle area. Razan was an officer for the UMR triangle.

“Their deaths really hit home to me because of how dedicated and hard-working students they were. Us gathering here today to pay our respects is a sign of unity among us American Muslims,” said economics junior Hamza Salim.

Whether religion was the root of this tragedy, the message of the vigil remains the same: unity and peace.

“You see people from all backgrounds and faiths coming here to commemorate what (the victims) done for the world,” said Kumail Hasan, founder of UMR Texas at UT Austin. “Wherever they are, I’m sure they’re smiling down on us.”

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