United States President Barack Obama on Friday condemned what he called the “brutal and outrageous murders” of three young Muslims in North Carolina this week, saying the FBI had opened an inquiry into the murders.
“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. Michelle and I offer our condolences to the victims’ loved ones,” Obama said in a statement.
“As we saw with the overwhelming presence at the funeral of these young Americans, we are all one American family. Whenever anyone is taken from us before their time, we remember how they lived their lives – and the words of one of the victims should inspire the way we live ours,” he added.
The three Muslims were shot dead on Tuesday near the University of North Carolina campus in an incident police said was possibly a hate crime.
Newlywed Deah Barakat, 23, a University of North Carolina dental student, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, a student at North Carolina State University, were gunned down on Tuesday.
Police charged the couple's neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, with murder. Investigators say initial findings indicate a dispute over parking prompted the shooting but they are looking into whether Hicks was motivated by hatred toward the victims because they were Muslim.
Obama’s failure to comment on the incident right away raised the ire of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who on Thursday said the silence of Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry was "telling" and they should take a position following such acts.
"If you stay silent when faced with an incident like this, and don't make a statement, the world will stay silent towards you," Erdogan charged.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)