(Photo: On Islam)
World’s largest bloc of Islamic countries has vehemently condemned the brutal murder of three young Muslims in North Carolina, warning of the surge of Islamophobia in the US. (Photo: On Islam)

Jeddah, 27 Rabi’ul Akhir 1436/17 February 2015 (MINA) – The world’s largest bloc of Islamic countries has vehemently condemned the brutal murder of three young Muslims in North Carolina, warning of the surge of Islamophobia in the US.

“This gruesome crime has left Muslims worldwide in a state of shock and has raised concerns of the growing feelings of hatred towards Muslims and the increase of acts linked to Islamophobia in the United States,” Iyad Madani, secretary general of the Organization of Islamic cooperation (OIC), said in a statement cited by Agence France Presse (AFP) on Saturday, February 14.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23 his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21 and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were found dead at a condominium complex off campus, On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

The gunman, identified as 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, turned himself into police after murdering the three young people in am execution style, each with a bullet in the head.

Saddened by the Islamophobic crime, the head of OIC urged the US government to take measures to protect society there from “negative images, discrimination, and stereotyping that contradict the core values of the American society.”

He also called for international cooperation to fight “extremism, violence, and religious intolerance, as well as hate crimes and (acts) that incite them.”

Breaking his silence over the crime, the US President Barack Obama denounced the murder, saying 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.”

Shocked by the heinous crime, world Muslims mourned the three young American Muslims in North Carolina, pouring into social media to send messages of solidarity to the victims’ families.

Twitter users started to employ the hashtag “#MuslimLivesMatter,” to comment on how the mainstream media ignored the news of the murder which did not make national headlines.

Last week, more than two thousand students, faculty and members of the community gathered in North Carolina University for a vigil to remember and pay tribute to the three young American-Muslims.

Hate Crimes

Caving to pressure from several Muslim groups and other community organizations, the FBI launched an inquiry parallel to police investigation to probe the heinous crime.

A few days after Chapel Hill shooting, more than 100 advocacy and community organizations called on the Department of Justice “to open a full and rigorous federal hate crime investigation and to publicly condemn this heinous attack.”

“There is a high probability that the shooter targeted the victims because of their religion and national origin,” a statement from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said.

Last week, the ADC linked the lack of media coverage of the brutal killing of the young Muslims in North Carolina to the rise of Islamophobia inspired by the new Hollywood film “American Sniper”.

Opening an FBI inquiry into the fatal shooting was welcomed by many advocates for Muslims, civil rights groups, the victims’ families as well the OIC. The assailant, Hicks, has been arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

Hicks’s Facebook page shows a regular media user who described himself as a supporter of “Atheists for Equality”. His most recent posts included a picture from United Atheists of America asking “why radical Christians and radical Muslims are so opposed to each others’ influence when they agree about so many ideological issues”.

Other posts clearly mocked religion, supporting atheism. In one of his photos, he describes as his “loaded 38 revolver” and himself separately on a quad bike and wearing a suit. Searching his home, police sized at least a dozen firearms including handguns, shotguns, rifles and a black Bushmaster AR-15.

Since the 9/11 attacks, US Muslims, estimated between 6-8 million, have complained of discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities. (T/P011/P3)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)