One of the three young Muslim students shot dead in Chapel Hill, NC, on Tuesday praised America's harmony and tolerance in an interview recorded for the StoryCorps project last year. "Growing up in America has been such a blessing," Yusor Abu-Salha said in a joint interview with her third-grade teacher. The 21-year-old said that in some ways she stood out, but "there's still so many ways that I feel so embedded in the fabric that is, you know, our culture. And that's the beautiful thing here, is that it doesn't matter where you come from. There's so many different people from so many different places of different backgrounds and religions, but here we're all one, one culture." All three of the victims attended the same Islamic elementary school in Raleigh, and the teacher, who returned to StoryCorps this week, recalled them as "radiant" kids, NPR reports. In other developments:
- More than 5,000 people attended the funerals of Abu-Salha, her sister, and her husband yesterday, the AP reports. The women's father says he is sure the killings were a hate crime. "When we say this was a hate crime, it is all about protecting all other children in the USA," he told the crowd at the funeral. "It's all about making this country that they loved, where they lived and died, peaceful for everybody else."
- Turkey's prime minister has strongly criticized President Obama and other US officials for not speaking out on the shootings, the BBC reports. "If you stay silent when faced with an incident like this, and don't make a statement, the world will stay silent towards you," he said yesterday. "As politicians, we are responsible for everything that happens in our countries and we have to show our positions."
- The FBI has launched its own investigation into the case, which the local US attorney describes as an "isolated incident," reports the Charlotte Observer. The agency says it has launched a "parallel preliminary inquiry to determine whether or not any federal laws were violated related to the case." Craig Stephen Hicks, the neighbor charged with the three murders, made numerous Facebook postings mocking religion, but he was also known for having arguments with neighbors.
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