Did #OurThreeWinners Get the Justice They Deserve?

Here we are, in 2019, where movements against hate and bigotry are happening, and millennials are standing up by the millions in support of civil rights for everyone. Unfortunately sometimes it’s not enough. There are still people who want to hurt others due to their religion, race, or sexual orientation.

February 10, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina was a day that will never be the same for the victims’ families. It was a dark, sad, horrid day that rocked Muslim communities all over the world.

Deah Barakat, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, lost their lives in a vicious hate crime.

While officials refused to label the cold-blooded murders a hate crime, Craig Stephen Hicks was filled with nothing but Islamophobic hatred when he murdered three young students execution style on February 10, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The killer then tried to lie and say it was over a parking dispute.

Despite this, Hicks pleaded guilty to three counts of murder in the 2015 slaying of Deah, Yusor, and Razan. With undeniable evidence of his crime, Hicks was handed three life sentences in prison for the cold-blooded murder of his young neighbors.

During the trial, prosecutors played a previously unheard cellphone recording that captured part of the murders. Before the video was played, the judge agreed to a request from the district attorney’s office that the cellphone video “not be recorded by media in the courtroom.” As reported by court reporters, in the 36 second tape, “Hicks can be seen first threatening Deah, then almost immediately start shooting…the cellphone falls with the camera facing the ceiling.” Reportedly, as the video continues, “…there are screams from two women, both of which can be heard pleading for their lives screaming, ‘Please! Please!'”

In a public statement, Chief Blue said, “What we all know now and what I wish we had said four years ago is that the murders of Deah, Yusor, and Razan were about more than simply a parking dispute.” tweet

Just yesterday, Chapel Hill’s police chief, Chris Blue, apologized for insisting that the 2015 murders were over little more than a parking dispute. In a public statement, Chief Blue said, “What we all know now and what I wish we had said four years ago is that the murders of Deah, Yusor, and Razan were about more than simply a parking dispute. The man who committed these murders undoubtedly did so with a hateful heart, and the murders represented the taking of three promising lives by someone who clearly chose not to see the humanity and the goodness in them. To the Abu-Salha and Barakat families, we extend our sincere regret that any part of our message all those years ago added to the pain you experienced through the loss of Our Three Winners.  And, to the Muslim members of our community, know that you are heard, seen, and valued.”

February 10, 2015 is a day that will never be the same for the Muslim community. It was a dark, sad, horrid day that rocked Muslim communities all over the world. Deah Barakat, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha lost their lives in a hate crime at the hands of a bigoted murderer that will be locked away for the rest of his life, and while that won’t numb the pain of this loss entirely, perhaps it will lend itself to deterring those who think causing harm based off of biases gets a free pass.

Many thanks to the men and women who fought for justice for the three slain youths, that were not here to tell their side. Let’s put an end to hate, and advocate for justice and peace. Deah, Yusor, and Razan we will never forget your beautiful faces and the joy you brought to the world.

Inna lillahe wa inna ilayhi raa’jioon. 

Image courtesy of @muslimgirl
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Did #OurThreeWinners Get the Justice They Deserve?
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