DETROIT (WWJ) — On Tuesday, University of North Carolina student Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19 were all killed in their home near the university’s campus.
Suspect Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the incident which some are calling a hate crime against the three young Muslims.
Meantime, in Detroit on the campus of Wayne State University, a vigil was held for the three Chapel Hill students on Friday evening.
Fatima Salman with The Michigan Muslim Community Council helped organize the vigil. She said that something needs to be done to address the kind of hate that leads to violence against Muslim-Americans and others.
“Recently — especially with what’s going on overseas and then there’s that American Sniper movie that came out — there are certain media outlets that are always inciting violence and hatred towards many people, and Muslims included,” Salman said. “So a lot of this is also let’s stop this hate talk.”
Salman said that she was happy to hear President Barack Obama speak out against the act in Chapel Hill, which many believe to be a hate crime, but was initially described as being a dispute between neighbors about parking.
“This vigil was in order to heal together as a community and mourn and celebrate their accomplishments,” Salman said.
The event also included a panel discussion about building bridges and stopping the hatred of others.
Rashida Tlaib, a former State Representative and now with the Sugar Law Center was among the panelists discussing ways to combat the kind of hate that leads to violence against Muslim-Americans.
“What we see is that hate speech and this type of anger can lead to what we’ve seen in Chapel Hill,” Tlaib said.
Tlaib has been a part of the Take On Hate campaign to work on changing policies and perceptions.
Organizers were asking people to sign an online petition calling for a full Department of Justice investigation into what they consider a hate crime.