Early this year an atheist was charged with murdering three Muslims over a parking dispute at their North Carolina apartment building. Now the brother of one of the slain Muslims wants the alleged killer charged with “terrorism.”
Since a militant atheist allegedly murdered his younger sister, Deah, Farris Barakat is demanding that authorities charge the killer with “terrorism.”
“I want to know why this guy can express such hostile views toward religion, be a hateful person, then walk into my brother’s apartment and execute him and shoot these two women who are Muslims,” Barakat said. “How is that not a terrorist attack?”
The murders allegedly occurred after repeated arguments with a neighbor who ultimately murdered the three Muslim students in an incident that has caused fears to course through the neighborhood–fears of anti-Islamic sentiment chief among them.
The murders occurred at the Finley Forest Condominiums in Chapel Hill, North Carolina after neighbor Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, reportedly engaged in arguments with the victims over parking at the complex. He also was heard denigrating their religion.
In a rage, on February 10 Hicks allegedly shot his three neighbors to death. Killed were Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha–all three students at local colleges.
Hicks was a militant atheist who had repeatedly posted strong attacks on religion on social media and reportedly told the three Muslim young people that he did not like “the way they looked”–especially the two girls in their head scarves.
Still, police have determined that the shooting was spurred by the parking dispute and had nothing to do with the victims’ religion. They have determined that there is no evidence of a hate crime.
Police revealed a long history of Hicks’ demands that police take care of parking violations and noted that Hicks even had a comprehensive set of records of what he considered his neighbors’ parking transgressions. He had even called the local towing company so many times that they stopped responding to his calls.
Hicks’ wife–who is now divorcing him–also told police that the shooting had nothing to do with religion.
Regardless of the determination, the shooting has become a scandal for the Muslim community. In fact, in an attempt to capitalize on the crime, the governments of at least eight Muslim countries have put out official statements condemning the murders.
All this attention has driven Barakat to attempt to make the case a cause célèbre for Muslims in America.
“We’re Americans,” Barakat insisted. “We’re loyal. We are peace loving. But you have to show us these terrorism laws aren’t just aimed at us.”
Barakat isn’t the only family member trying to make this about Islam instead of an act of lunacy spurred by a crazy man’s obsession with parking. His sister, Suzanne Barakat, is spurring controversy, saying that the murders prove that it is “open season against Muslims.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org