Palestinian Government Demands Role in Investigating Chapel Hill Shootings

AP Photo/Durham County Sheriff's Office
AP Photo/Durham County Sheriff's Office

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry is demanding “the involvement of Palestinian investigators to clarify the circumstances of” the murder of three Muslim Americans in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  The Ministry denounced Chapel Hill shooter Craig Stephen Hicks as “an American extremist and hateful racist.”

The Palestinian government is on the same page as Dr. Suzanne Barakat, sister to Chapel Hill shooting victim Deah Barakat, using almost exactly the same words to describe the murders as “terrorism” and a “serious indication of the growth of racism and religious extremism” in America, which they portrayed as “a direct threat to the lives of hundreds of thousands of American citizens who follow the Islamic faith.”

The three murder victims were all Palestinian-Americans, according to Reuters.

A report from AFP is more specific about the victims’ ethnic background, saying Barakat’s wife and her sister “were Jordanian Americans of Palestinian origin, and Barakat’s parents are immigrants from Syria of Palestinian descent.”

The Washington Post reports that the Jordanian embassy in Washington is “closely following the ongoing investigation” because the sisters held dual citizenship in the U.S. and Jordan; the Jordanian ambassador visited North Carolina on Friday to extend the sympathies of King Abdullah II to the families of the victims.

At this point, the FBI is orbiting the investigation, announcing its involvement in a “parallel preliminary inquiry.”  The WaPo reports Attorney General Holder’s statement that the preliminary inquiry will determine if “any federal laws, including hate crime laws, were violated.”

There’s going to be a lot of political pressure to make such a determination and roast the loathsome Hicks for allegedly committing a hate crime.  The local police have been firm in backing up their initial allegation that Hicks killed the victims over parking spaces, but that will be clearly unsatisfactory to groups like the Council of American-Islamic Relations, which said the case was “quickly becoming a touchstone for the American Muslim community’s sense of security and inclusion.”

Hicks is a left-leaning, MSNBC-watching, militant atheist.  The Obama administration is going to be extremely reluctant to launch a civil-rights inquest that paints militant atheists as a hate group, prone to acting violently against believers in the religious traditions they claim to universally despise.  If they can push his atheist activism offstage and nail him for racism, they might take a shot at a civil-rights trial, but they will want very solid evidence, and so far, there has not been any.