After taking flak for remaining silent after the murder of three young Muslims in North Carolina, President Obama today condemned the killings. Noting that the FBI is investigating to determine whether the victims were shot because of their religion, Obama said that "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," reports CNN. Police have said that neighbor Craig Stephen Hicks shot the trio over a parking dispute, though the father of two of the victims is sure it was a hate crime motivated by their religion.
Calling the slayings "brutal and outrageous," the president quoted one of the victims, Yusor Abu-Salha, who had described growing up in America as a "blessing" because "here we're all one." Meanwhile, the president of the state NAACP chapter cited the recent controversy over a Muslim call to prayer at Duke University as contributing to "the insane atmosphere that triggers the hate of so many,” reports the Raleigh News & Observer. The university scrapped plans to allow the call to prayer to be broadcast from the chapel bell tower after a torrent of criticism. (Read more Chapel Hill stories.)