Last year, three Muslim Americans were tragically shot and killed near the University of North Carolina by a white man. The victims were Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his new wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her 19-year-old sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.
The perpetrator, Craig Hicks claimed that he was not motivated by the victims’ religion, but that the incident escalated due to a parking conflict, USA Today reported at the time.
After the results of the 2016 American Presidential election came in on Tuesday night, and Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President, marginalized communities across the country expressed fear and concern for the future.
Farris Barakat, Deah’s brother spoke to ABC News about the election results on Wednesday. Barakat also shared that he was organizing a structured community for youth, in memory of his brother.
Speaking to the name of the community organization, the Lighthouse Project, Barakat said, “We’re not going to respond with darkness and I think there are too many people in the world that are hurt, or afraid or scared. We’re not doing so well, and if we have more light to overcome that darkness it’s better for all of us.”
The year 2015 saw the highest rate of hate crimes against Muslim Americans since 2001. According to the Huffington Post, hate crimes “were up 78 percent,” and that’s in no small part due to Trump’s rhetoric.
ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks and Barakat spoke about the ways the Muslim American community has been affected in the last year by the Trump campaign.
“What has this campaign cycle been like for you?” Parks asked.
“I think for most people, and myself included, it was a little bit too much,” Barakat said. “I would say the Muslim American narrative today is especially important.” He shared how the murder of his brother has had a profound impact on his family and community.
“I think we’re reminded today, again, that we have a lot of work to do, knowing that Donald Trump will be the president,” Barakat said. “I firmly believe, or at least I would like to believe … that a small portion of his followers are people who may enjoy his rhetoric, but others have voted for him maybe based off policy.” And so in that sense, Barakat has some hope.
“But at the same time, all the minority communities that have been targeted by Donald Trump feel scared today,” Barakat explained.