The Slatest

Palestinian Government Wants Role in Probe of “Terrorist” Chapel Hill Killings

Palestinians carrying flowers gather at the sea of Gaza City, on Feb. 14, 2015, in remembrance of the three victims of the Chapel Hill shooting.

Photo by Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

The Palestinian government says that the killing of three young Palestinian Americans in North Carolina on Tuesday is an example of how the United States is getting increasingly dangerous for Muslims. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the killings amounted to terrorism and called on U.S. authorities to allow its investigators to join the probe. Police have charged Craig Stephen Hicks for the killing of his neighbors, 23-year-old Deah Barakat, 21-year-old Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha, 19. The FBI on Thursday said it launched an investigation into the triple homicide that local police say was due to an old dispute over parking. The family of the victims have said from the beginning that the killings were motivated because of faith.

Hicks is “an American extremist and hateful racist,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said, according to Reuters. “We consider it a serious indication of the growth of racism and religious extremism which is a direct threat to the lives of hundreds of thousands of American citizens who follow the Islamic faith.”  

The Palestinian government was not alone in expressing concern. The head of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad Ameen Madani, called on the United States government “to take steps towards ensuring protection against stereotyping, discrimination and profiling, which are inconsistent with core values of American society and for which it is admired.”

Meanwhile, the Embassy of Jordan in Washington said on Friday that it was “closely following” the investigation. And Jordan’s ambassador to the United States even traveled to North Carolina to express his sympathy with the family, reports the Washington Post. President Obama issued a statement on the killings Friday, one day after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan criticized him for his silence.

Slate’s Josh Voorhees explained on Friday that the available information on the triple homicide “is very much incomplete.” And it could stay that way. “Even when we do know more, there’s no guarantee we’ll know better,” writes Voorhees. “Hicks’ true motivation may ultimately prove unknowable.”