Published On: Wed, Feb 11th, 2015 on 4:10 pm

Imam pays tribute to Chapel Hill shooting victims who will ‘continue to inspire’

EXCLUSIVE: A religious leader from West Yorkshire has paid tribute to the three young students in the college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who were shot dead on Tuesday.

Imam Qari Asim MBE, of Leeds Makkah Masjid, said that the legacy of the three Muslim university students, who were involved in charity and community work, will “continue to inspire” others.

Chapel Hill Shooting Victims

The victims of the shooting were Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

A man named Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

Hicks, who reportedly described himself as an “anti-theist” and criticised religions online, handed himself in to officers the night he killed the students.

Twitter users and online activists were quick to accuse major media outlets of failing to adequately cover the shootings.

Chapel Hill Shooting Media

Image: Twitter/nadiaalie.

“There has not been the same outcry”

Imam Qari Asim expressed similar concerns.

He said: “There has not been the same outcry, media coverage or condemnation as there would have been if a Muslim had killed three individuals. Lack of coverage can mean that it is ‘normal’ for such event to take place.

“We have already had a murder take place in Birmingham; Mohammed Saleem was stabbed to death by a terrorist because he was a Muslim.

“Hatred, racism and Islamophobia cannot and must not be ignored. We must all unite to root out all forms of extremism from our world.”

“They are in our thoughts and prayers”

Mr Barakat had set up a fundraising page before he died that was raising money to provide dental care to Syrian children made refugees by the country’s civil war.

His wife was also reportedly tagged on a Facebook post that read: “Today we passed out dental supplies and food to over 65 homeless people in Raleigh! A big thank you to NC State MSA for sponsoring funds #DowntownSmiles.”

Imam Qari Asim said: “Our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha. They are in our thoughts and prayers.

“These three Muslim community activists will continue to inspire many because of their community work. Their legacy is to continue feeding the homeless, helping the poor and striving to remove poverty from our society.”

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