The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Chapel Hill shooting sparks outrage

On Feb. 10, just an hour away from Guilford College, the city of Chapel Hill was rocked by a devastating tragedy.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were all shot in the head by Craig Hicks in their home in Finley Forest Condominiums on Summerwalk Circle.

“I first heard of the tragic incident Tuesday night soon after is occurred,” said sophomore Tasmia Zafar. “I have a close friend who is a freshman at Chapel Hill; she was the one that told me that three of the most incredible people had been shot and killed.”

Barakat was a second-year student in the UNC School of Dentistry. He and 10 other dental students were planning to travel to treat Syrian refugees. He also worked to provide free dental supplies to the homeless in his spare time.

He and Yusor were newly married. Razan was also dedicated to charity work, supporting organizations like Global Deaf Muslim.

“For some reason I felt like I knew them — I don’t know why —  even though I’ve never met them,” said sophomore Amani Hashim. “The more I read about them, the sadder I get because they are actually people with goals in life.

“They were just like us. They wanted to live peacefully. They wanted to make a change. They wanted to show that we are not the people on media, and we have goals and dreams.”

With the three victims being Muslim, national attention has been focused on how this murder is being presented. Chapel Hill police said the suspected murderer, Craig Hicks, may have killed the victims because of a parking dispute. The lack of attention to the fact that the victims were Muslim has caused international outrage.

The widespread nature of the rage appears to have been caused by the Internet and social media. Many students such as Hashim found out through the Web.

“So many people on Facebook posted articles,” said Hashim. “I read the article on Tuesday night, I think. I read over it and went to bed. And the next day people were freaking out. There were posts everywhere.

“Whenever something happens they blame it on Muslims, but when Muslims get shot or they’re the victims no one talks about it or they just ignore it, but why? We’re humans too.”

The event has brought the issue of Islamophobia forward in many communities. Muslim organizations have been vigilant in having their voices fill a void where they feel most media is not treading. Muslim voices have also spoken up at Guilford.

“We have talked about inviting speakers to Greensboro to educate and get rid of any kind of ignorance (about Islam),” said first-year Rashad Clark.

The murder has also caused some Muslim students, like Hashim, to think about their own lives, goals and identities.

“For me, it encouraged me to do something good in this life,” said Hashim. “I could just walk out and die. It makes me realize what … I have done in this life. It makes me rethink my life. That’s a good thing that happened out of this horrible thing. “

With the wound still stinging, many are left to hope to do something for the lives lost.

“The only thing left to do now is to carry on Deah, Yusor and Razan’s legacy,” said Zafar. “They were kind to everyone, tried their best at everything they did and put God before anyone and anything else. If I and others can become a better person, even the tiniest bit better, then they did not die in vain.”

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