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Gazans protest killing of three Muslim students in US

15 February 2015 12:10

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Residents in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip have staged a protest rally to condemn the recent shooting to death of three American Muslim students in the eastern US state of North Carolina, Press TV reports.

Nearly 1,500 Palestinians took to the streets across the Palestinian territory on Saturday night in an angry protest against the execution-style killing of the Muslim students near the Chapel Hill campus of the University of North Carolina, referring to the shocking incident as an attack against Islam and its followers.

The protest rally was called for by the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

Last week, a 46-year-old American named Craig Hicks shot and killed the three Muslim students — Deah Barakat, his wife, Yusor Abu Salha, and her sister, Razan Abu Salha — allegedly after a dispute over a parking spot near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

However, some reports say the apartment housing complex included plenty of parking spaces.

Palestinian authorities have described the triple murder as an anti-Muslim act of terror.

“There is an international media blackout so that people would not know that it was a hate crime to terrorize Muslims. This crime shows the ugly face of those in America who talk about democracy and act against it. Muslims all over the world must not remain silent amid the shedding of innocent Muslim blood,” said senior Hamas official Mohammad Abu Askar.

The incident comes amid what many experts describe as a rising tide of Islamophobia in the United States.

Protesters in Gaza were especially angry because two of the Chapel Hill victims — the Abu Slaha sisters — were Palestinian-Americans.

Protesters say the cold-blooded murder of the three Muslim students reflects the scope of hatred against Muslims in the United States.

Shooter heavily armed

The development comes as US press reports have revealed that the suspected killer of the Muslim students was heavily armed with an arsenal of at least a dozen firearms in his home, citing official search warrants.

The warrants show that Hicks had four handguns, a pistol, two shotguns and six rifles, including a military-style AR-15 carbine.

Outrage among US Muslims

The brutal shooting to deaths of the young Americans sparked outrage among Muslims in the United States.

A large number of people held a protest rally on Friday outside the White House in Washington to condemn the recent killings, demanding that the deadly incident be treated as a hate crime.

Meanwhile, families of the young victims said they were executed for being Muslims, rather than just being a random target of a criminal.

US media slammed for poor coverage

Since the triple murder, mainstream American media outlets as well as law enforcement authorities have been heavily criticized for not treating the shootings as a hate crime.

This is while a hate crime indictment would carry a more severe penalty for the killings.

Moreover, many in the US believe that the murder incident would have gained a lot more attention if the attacker had been a Muslim and the victims were non-Muslim.

Meanwhile, the FBI has launched its own probe into the killing, prompting representatives of Washington-based Muslim advocacy group called the Council on American-Islamic Relations to welcome the move.

More than 100 religious and community groups, including predominantly Muslim groups, have also called on the administration of US President Barack Obama to open a hate crime inquiry into the incident and publicly denounce the shootings.

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