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Islamophobia in US rising to 9/11 levels: Journalist

15 February 2015 12:14

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Islamophobia in the United States is growing to levels not seen since the September, 11, 2001 attacks, with Muslim women targeted more frequently, according to a journalist and activist in Virginia.

Hatred and fear toward Muslims “has risen to a level in this country where many, many people who are identifiably Muslim, particularly women who wear the hijab are afraid and feel nervous in public,” said Phil Wilayto, an editor at Virginia Defender Newspaper.

The degree of Islamophobia is currently “similar to what happened after the attacks on 9/11,” Wilayto told Press TV during a phone interview on Saturday.

Wilayto made the comments following the shooting death of three American Muslim students in North Carolina during the past week.

A hateful middle-aged white man shot dead Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus on Tuesday afternoon.

US President Barack Obama condemned the “brutal and outrageous murders” in a statement made Friday. “Michelle (Obama) and I offer our condolences to the victims’ loved ones.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said on Thursday night that it has launched an inquiry into the killing, after families of the victims denounced police for not pursuing the case as a hate crime.

Local police have launched a homicide investigation focusing on a dispute over a parking space, but the families have rejected that narrative, describing the killing an “execution-style murder” and a “hate crime”.

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