North Carolina

‘Bigotry and hate’ responsible for his Muslim daughters’ deaths, NC dad tells Congress

Father of slain Muslim daughters: ‘Bigotry and hate’ are responsible

Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha told a U.S. Congressional committee Tuesday that "bigotry and hate" are responsible for the deaths of his daughters, who were Muslim.
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Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha told a U.S. Congressional committee Tuesday that "bigotry and hate" are responsible for the deaths of his daughters, who were Muslim.

For a North Carolina Muslim father, the pain of losing his two daughters and son-in-law is “just as sharp now” as it was on the day they were fatally shot four years ago.

“Three beautiful young Americans were brutally murdered, and there is no question in our minds that this tragedy was born of bigotry and hate,” Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha told a U.S. Congressional committee Tuesday, according to a live video feed.

Abu-Salha spoke during a hearing on “Hate Crimes and the Rise of White Nationalism.”

His daughters — Razan, 19, and Yusor, 21, — and Yusor’s husband Deah Barakat, 23, were fatally shot Feb. 10, 2015, in a Chapel Hill condo complex.

Craig Stephen Hicks was charged in connection with the shooting, which happened after a reported parking disputeThe News & Observer has reported.

“I ask you, I truly plead to you not to let another family go through this because our government would not act to protect all Americans,” Abu-Salha said during the hearing.

VIDEO: Deah Barakat, Yousor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha were remembered by family, friends and faculty during services at UNC and NC State University Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. The three were victims of a fatal shooting a year earlier in Chapel

Abu-Salha said “trouble began” when the man accused of the killings saw his daughters, who were wearing hijabs.

“He made it very clear to my children that they were not welcome in their own neighborhood,” Abu-Salha said.

The shooting prompted social media comments of “Muslim Lives Matter,” and an annual food drive is now held each year in the students’ honor.

On Tuesday, Abu-Salha hoped Congress would know about the lives of his family members.

“I want you to remember more than their deaths,” he said. “I want you to know who they were and what we have lost.”

He said Razan was a design student at N.C. State University who mentored young people. He described Yusor as a “vibrant” woman who volunteered at a dental clinic for refugees from Syria. She planned to enroll in UNC-Chapel Hill that fall.

Deah, married to Yusor for six weeks, was attending dental school at UNC and helped to provide dental supplies to people in need, Abu-Salha said.

Simone Jasper is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.


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