Candlelight vigil planned in Fayetteville to honor Muslim murder victims in Chapel Hill

From left, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Photo: Facebook

The University of Arkansas Muslim Student Association will host a candlelight vigil in memory of the three North Carolina students who were murdered Feb. 10 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The vigil is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19 at Central Quad, in front of the Arkansas Union on the UA campus.

The murder victims – newlyweds Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, along with Mohammad’s sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19 – were all shot in the head inside an apartment near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

The suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, has been charged with three counts of murder and one count of discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling.

Police cited a parking dispute as the motive, but the FBI is investigating the potential of a hate crime after the father of the women said he thinks the students were murdered because of their religion and culture.

Organizers of the candlelight vigil said the idea is to not just pay respect to the victims, but also raise awareness of the problems Muslims and many other minorities face across the country each day.

“In the wake of this dark and painful situation, it is our hope that our society would acknowledge the misguided fears that plague us and that through this vigil our society would see the beauty, grace, resilience, kindness, and richness of the Muslim faith and community, in all its diversity,” organizers stated on a Facebook event page.