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150 Civil Rights & Faith Groups Seek Federal Investigation of Chapel Hill Murders

(Pictured: Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, (left) her husband Deah Barakat, 23, (center), and Yusor’s sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, (right) of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.)

150 Civil Rights & Faith Groups Seek Federal Investigation of Chapel Hill Murders

Muslim Advocates and coalition call on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to directly address the killing of three young American Muslims

Feb. 13, 2015—Today, Muslim Advocates and 149 leading civil rights, faith, community, and civic groups sent a joint letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to open a full and rigorous federal hate crime investigation into the brutal murders of Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Though details about this incident continue to unfold, many accounts suggest that these attacks were motivated by hate.  The circumstances surrounding the incident—previous threats by Craig Hicks, combined with the sentiment expressed in his social media posts—warrant a federal hate crime investigation.

“Now, more than ever, in this environment of increasing anti-Muslim bigotry and hate crimes, we need our leaders at the highest level to directly address these horrific murders,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates.  “The Attorney General has a responsibility to protect all Americans and send a clear message that hate crimes against American Muslims will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The signatories, which include Color of Change, Human Rights Campaign, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Sikh Coalition, Muslim Student Association of U.S. and Canada, and Islamic Society of North America, also urge the Attorney General to hold a press conference announcing the investigation.  This would be the first time a U.S. Attorney General has held a press conference to announce a federal investigation or indictment of a potential hate crime against members of the American Muslim, Arab, Sikh or South Asian communities.

To read the full letter and list of signatories, click here.

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Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization working on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths. Through high impact lawsuits, policy advocacy, and community education, Muslim Advocates serves as a resource to empower communities and ensures that the American Muslim community is heard by the courts and leaders at the highest level of government. Visit Muslim Advocates at www.muslimadvocates.org and follow @muslimadvocates.