WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama on Friday condemned the “brutal and outrageous” execution-style murders of three Muslim students in North Carolina at the hands of a neighbor believed to be opposed to religion. te
“No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship,” Obama said in a statement.
Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his new wife Yusor Mohammad, 21 and her 19-year-old sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were killed by neighbour Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, whose Facebook page espoused his anti-religious views.
Craig is charged with three counts of first degree murder, which carries a minimum sentence of death or life in prison without parole.
Barakat and Mohammad were married in late December, and the latter was set to start dental school in August.
Her sister had attended the nearby North Carolina State University.
The murders are being investigated by Chapel Hill police as a hate crime, and sparked outrage among Muslims worldwide.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reproached Obama and other senior officials for not speaking out against the killings of the three young Muslims.
Erdogan, lead of a Muslim nation, said during a news conference in Mexico on Thursday that the US administration should take a stance against the killings, saying their silence was “meaningful.”