Racism and News Coverage Controversy Surrounds Chapel Hill Shooting


According to The New York Times, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, her husband, Mr. Barakat, 23, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were each shot in the head and killed by Craig Stephen Hicks, who is 46 years old, on Feb. 10 in Chapel Hill, NC. They were young university students who were said to be high achievers and active volunteers in their neighborhood. Hicks reportedly went missing after the incident; later he was found, arrested, and charged with three counts of murder.

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The New York Times reported Hicks was one of the young couple’s neighbors who lived on the opposite side of the two-story Finley Forest complex on Summerwalk Circle, where the shooting took place. Finley Forrest resides about a mile and a half east of the University of North Carolina campus. Hicks apartment reportedly is adjacent to the main parking lot where parking spots are hard to come by, and the couple lived on the other side.

The shooting escalated from what is said to have been a parking dispute between Hicks and the three victims at the apartment complex where they all lived.

Even though Chapel Hill police said the dispute was caused over a possible ongoing parking issue, people all over the world are speculating whether the victims Muslim religious beliefs are at the root of the issue.

Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, father of the two female victims, stated he believes that racism was at the root of the shooting. He said that Yusor had previously expressed to him that she and her husband had been harassed by Hicks before because of the way they looked and dressed.

One of Yusor’s friends also reportedly expressed that Hicks had confronted the young couple before about making noise and their visitors taking up parking spaces. What’s extremely alarming is he once came to their door with a rifle. It is unknown why the couple did not involve authorities at this point.

Hicks voiced his hatred for all religion on his Facebook account and expressed support for atheism, criticism of Christian conservatives or both.

The New York Times  reported Hicks wife insisted at a news conference that the shooting was not the cause of racism. “I can say with absolute belief that this incident had nothing to do with religion or the victims’ faith, but it was related to a longstanding parking dispute that my husband had with the neighbors,” she said.

She also pointed out his support for gay rights and the right to abortion.

What makes this incident even more controversial is the fact that mainstream media did not pick up the story right away and social media sites like Twitter started blowing up with the hashtag, ‘#MuslimsLivesMatter.’

However, the police did not release the names of the victims or the accused until after 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Hicks turned himself in to sheriff’s deputies in Pittsboro, the time still unknown, and on Wednesday a judge ordered him to be held without bond.

At this point, most main stream American news outlets had reported the story, but the allegations that main stream media outlets neglected the story did not slow down.




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