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North Carolina University sees death of three muslim students

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The recent deaths of three Muslim students at North Carolina State in Chapel Hill may be ruled a hate crime.“We know this is a hate crime. We know that Islamophobia is real and very much alive in this country,” said William Gyles, a senior majoring in biochemistry from Illinois. Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha, 19, were found dead on Feb. 10th at the newly married couple’s apartment. A grand jury has indicted Craig Hicks on three counts of first-degree murder, according to the Durham County Clerk’s office. Hicks was also charged with using a firearm inside of an occupied home. County police told media outlets, “an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking” may have been the cause of the fatal altercation, but officials are not throwing out the possibility of a hate crime. Barakat graduated with honors from N.C State in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Barakat’s wife Yusor graduated from N.C. State last fall with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. Yusor had just recently been accepted into the UNC dentistry program. Razan, Yusor’s younger sister, was a sophomore in N.C. State’s college of design, majoring in architecture. “Needless to say, these three young people had so much ahead of them. It pains me to think that this is happening to my brothers and sisters everywhere. It’s always the same headline, they just change up the campus every now and then,” remarked Karima Selah, a Muslim student at the University of Hawaii Manoa.The FBI defines a hate crime as, “a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias.”CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin said, “To qualify as a hate crime, all that matters is that the crime was motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias.”According to the university’s recent press release, N.C. State has created a scholarship program called “Our Three Winners” that will provide annual support to students in N.C. State’s Poole College of Management, College of Sciences and the College of Design. Chancellor Randy Woodson said along with the announcement of the scholarship, “Deah, Yusor and Razan exemplified the best of N.C. State and will forever serve as role models for our student body.” Woodson continued, “Each was not only an outstanding student, but individually and as a family lived their lives bringing joy to others, helping those in need and making the world a better place.”Prior to his death, Deah Barakat created a GoFundMe site to help provide medical care for Syrian refugees. Since his, his wife’s and sister-in-law’s passing, the page has received more than $335,000. According to Barakat’s cousin, Rula Dweydari, the money will be used to set up clinics for Syrian refugees in Turkey in memory of the three Muslim students.Uploaded Feb. 25, 2015
Writer: Morgynne Tora