Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

16 Feb, 2015

150 U.S.-based Civil Rights & Faith Groups Urge Federal Investigation of Muslim murders

13 Feb 2015 (Official media release) – Today a diverse coalition of 150 leading civil rights, faith, community, and civic groups, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to open a full and rigorous federal hate crime investigation into the brutal murders of Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Deah Barakat, 23, (left) his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, (center) and Yusor’s sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

North Carolina police have arrested and charged a neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, with three counts of first-degree murder.  Though details about this incident continue to unfold, many accounts suggest that these attacks were motivated by hate.  The circumstances surrounding the incident—previous threats by Mr. Hicks, combined with the sentiment expressed in Mr. Hicks’ social media posts—warrant a federal hate crime investigation.

The letter was sent by Muslim Advocates along with a coalition of leading civil rights, community, and faith-based organizations, including Color of Change, Human Rights Campaign, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Sikh Coalition, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Center for New Community, National Network for Arab American Communities, The Muslim Students Association of US & Canada, and Islamic Society of North America. The coalition urges the Attorney General to open a full and rigorous federal hate crime investigation into the killings of the three Muslim students and to personally announce the investigation and/or an indictment relating to this vicious attack.

The killings come in the wake of a disturbing rise in especially threatening and vitriolic anti-Muslim rhetoric and activities.

The diversity of the organizations and communities represented in the letter send a clear message that federal leadership is necessary in this case in order to send the strongest message to the public that acts of violence like these have no place in a civil society and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Click here to read a copy of the letter to U.S. Attorney General Holder.