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Gazans close aid agencies over Muslim killings in US

17 February 2015 11:15

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Palestinian activists have temporarily shut down several aid organizations in the Gaza Strip in protest at the killing of three Palestinian-American Muslims in the United States last week.

The activists on Monday forced the temporary closure of at least six aid organizations operating in the Gaza Strip, which are associated with US interests.

The three victims, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were shot dead by their neighbor Craig Stephen Hicks near the University of North Carolina at the Chapel Hill campus on February 10.

Local police have launched a homicide investigation focusing on a potential dispute between Hicks, 46, and the three victims over a parking space, but the families of the murdered Muslims have rejected that narrative, saying they were killed because of their religion. They have also described the killing as an “execution-style murder” and a “hate crime.”

Hicks is believed to hold strong opposition to religion, as he has posted dozens of anti-religious messages on his Facebook account. According to the victims’ family members, Hicks had threatened the students a number of times earlier while carrying a gun.

The Palestinian national unity government has condemned the “heinous murder” of three American Muslims of Palestinian origin, saying it was a “dangerous sign of racism and religious extremism.”

The fatal shootings have caused outrage among Muslims all over the world. Many believe the crimes would have gained more attention, if the attacker had been a Muslim and the victims were non-Muslim whites.

Demonstrations have also been staged throughout the Palestinian territories, especially in the Gaza Strip, over the growth of racism and extremism.

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