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White House Breaks Silence on “Brutal and Outrageous” Chapel Hill Shooting

© AP Photo / Jacquelyn MartinUS President Barack Obama has issued a statement on the “brutal and outrageous” shooting of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, NC, offering condolences and calling for unity.
US President Barack Obama has issued a statement on the “brutal and outrageous” shooting of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, NC, offering condolences and calling for unity. - Sputnik International
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US President Barack Obama has issued a statement on the “brutal and outrageous” shooting of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, NC, offering condolences and calling for unity.

In his statement the President said that the FBI had opened an investigation into “whether federal laws were violated” and cited the presence of over 5,000 mourners at the students’ funeral Thursday as evidence that “we are all one American family.”

At the end of his statement, President Obama quoted Abu-Salha, from a conversation she had recorded for the Storycorps oral history project a few months before her death, in which she called her life in America “a blessing”

“It doesn’t matter where you come from. There’s so many different people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions – but here, we’re all one.”

On Wednesday, the White House said they had “no specific reaction” to the shootings, but the relative silence about the shootings from mainstream media and the President came under fire from community leaders and media outlets.

Obama’s statement comes the day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized Obama’s lack of a response to perceived anti-Muslim violence in a speech he made during a state visit to Mexico.  

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech to the media next to Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto (not pictured) during an official welcoming ceremony for Erdogan, at the National Palace in Mexico City February 12, 2015. - Sputnik International
Ergodan Slams Obama for Silence Following Chapel Hill Shooting

Deah Shaddy Barakat, a 23-year-old dental student, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were shot by Craig Hicks, 46, a neighbor of the students who had been known to make anti-Muslim remarks.

Hicks posted comments online critical of religion and neighbors say he was a bully in the community, and was always irritated about aspects of the housing complex they lived in, the New York Times reports. His attitude was one of  "equal opportunity anger," said neighbor Samantha Maness.

Though the FBI is conducting a civil rights investigation, and the victims’ families have called this a clear hate crime, Hicks’ family insists it was a long-simmering feud over a parking space.

 

Read Obama’s full statement below:

Yesterday, the FBI opened an inquiry into the brutal and outrageous murders of Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, Deah Shaddy Barakat, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

In addition to the ongoing investigation by local authorities, the FBI is taking steps to determine whether federal laws were violated. No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship. 

Michelle and I offer our condolences to the victims’ loved ones. As we saw with the overwhelming presence at the funeral of these young Americans, we are all one American family. Whenever anyone is taken from us before their time, we remember how they lived their lives – and the words of one of the victims should inspire the way we live ours. 

“Growing up in America has been such a blessing,” Yusor said recently. “It doesn’t matter where you come from. There’s so many different people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions – but here, we’re all one.”

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