A pan-Muslim body condemned Saturday the murders of three Muslim students in the United States by a neighbour who espoused anti-religious views, voicing concerns over what it said was increased “Islamophobia” in the country.
Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister Razan, 19, were shot dead on Tuesday in the North Carolina university town of Chapel Hill.
A 46-year-old neighbour, Craig Stephen Hicks, has been charged with three counts of murder over the killings, which sparked outrage among Muslims worldwide.
Police said they are investigating what may have been a parking dispute gone wrong, but have not ruled out a hate-based crime.
Relatives of the victims say they are convinced they were targeted because of their faith.
“This gruesome crime has left Muslims worldwide in a state of shock and has raised concerns of the growing feelings of hatred towards Muslims and the increase of acts linked to Islamophobia in the United States,” said Iyad Madani, secretary general of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic cooperation.
In a statement on the official news agency of Saudi Arabia, where the OIC is based, he urged the US government to take measures to protect society there from “negative images, discrimination, and stereotyping that contradict the core values of the American society.”
Madani also called for international cooperation to fight “extremism, violence, and religious intolerance, as well as hate crimes and (acts) that incite them.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened an inquiry into the murders.
A Facebook page believed to belong to Hicks showed dozens of anti-religious posts, including one calling himself an “anti-theist,” saying he has a “conscientious objection to religion,” and other memes denouncing Christianity, Mormonism and Islam.
Muslim activists have called for Hicks to be charged with hate crimes.
“There is a high probability that the shooter targeted the victims because of their religion and national origin,” a statement from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has said.
The group said it had recorded a jump in “reported hate rhetoric” recently following the release of Clint Eastwood Iraq War movie “American Sniper,” which has been criticised for its depiction of Iraqis.
‘They have a responsibility to not be stupid’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe slaps Trump’s ‘ignorant’ rally-goers for swallowing Trump lies
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough blamed President Donald Trump's supporters for failing their most basic civic responsibility by remaining willfully ignorant and swallowing his lies.
The president claimed his betrayal of the Kurds was actually keeping them safe, despite credible reports of war crimes against them by Turkey, and the "Morning Joe" host challenged rally-goers to open their eyes -- and believe what they see.
"It's the responsibility to people that show up at those rallies to not be stupid, to not be so stupid that they should be kept away from blenders," Scarborough said. "All they have to do is spend three seconds actually watching the news, all they have to do is spend three seconds on Google, spend three seconds talking to somebody that is not completely brainwashed to see that this is a horrible deal for the Kurds."
‘This was the smoking gun!’ MSNBC’s Morning Joe explains why Mulvaney ‘confession’ could end Trump presidency
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had offered "smoking gun" evidence in a stunning confession to the crime at the heart of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
The "Morning Joe" host said Mulvaney had made a stunning "confession," but he said the president had on the same day endorsed the ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish allies he had betrayed to Turkey.
"There's so much to talk about, we joke for a few minutes at the top of the show, Mika likes do that, me, I like to get straight into the news," said Scarborough, who frequently annoys his wife and co-host by bantering about sports at the start of the show. "But there's so much going on that if somebody just woke up this morning they might not think that yesterday was not one of the most significant news days in, during the Trump presidency, and I may even argue one of the most significant news days over perhaps the last decade, just in terms of volume."
Vote-splitting fears raised in final days of Canada election
In the dying days of what Justin Trudeau described as one of the "nastiest" election campaigns in Canadian history -- with plenty of mudslinging, attack ads and misinformation -- he played up fears on Thursday of vote-splitting handing victory to his rival Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives.
Policy announcements gave way to calls to vote strategically to keep Trudeau's Liberals in power and prevent a rollback of his progressive policies by the Tories.
Pollsters predict a minority government -- either Liberal or Conservative -- resulting from the October 21 ballot.
Attack ads accused Liberals of seeking to legalize hard drugs and the Tories of allowing assault rifles on Canadian streets -- claims that are flat out wrong or exaggerated, respectively.