ARAB AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK MOURNS YOUNG NORTH CAROLINA VICTIMS & CALLS FOR VIGIL
This past Tuesday evening, a 46-year-old man by the name of Craig Stephen Hicks shot and killed three young Arab-American Muslims in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The three victims are 21-year-old Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, her 19-year-old sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, and her 23-year-old husband Deah Shaddy Barakat. Yusor and Deah were a newly wed couple married just two months ago. They were both pursuing dental school at the University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill, while Razan had just started studying architecture and environmental design at the North Carolina State University.
The Arab American Association of New York is devastated, shaken and grieved by this violent hate crime. We mourn with the family and community of the three victims, and we extend our deepest support, empathy and love to them.
We ask the broader community to understand this tragedy not as an isolated event, but as part of a larger backdrop of rising anti-Arab and Islamophobic sentiment in the United States. Arab and Muslim communities have long been and continue to be harassed, assaulted and targeted for their racial and religious backgrounds. We call on all community leaders to join us in our demand for accountability and justice for our slain sisters and brother. We want our communities to live safely and freely. We want our communities to be well and to thrive. This cannot happen with a widespread culture of fear, violence and racism against communities of color.
We ask you to join us for a community vigil in Brooklyn to honor the lives of the victims and to join in a collective prayer for healing and justice. The vigil will be held this Friday, February 13th in front of the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge after Friday Prayer at 1 PM. A second city-wide vigil will be held Friday evening at 6 PM in Union Square.