Deah Barakah, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, Razan Abu-Salha, 19
The American-Muslim community is still reeling from the cold-blooded murders of three young American-Muslim students killed in their Chapel Hill, N.C. home on February 10. And yet, just as in their short lives these beautiful souls mobilized their communities to help the homeless, the hungry and the displaced, in their deaths they seem to inspire and mobilize millions more:
Project: Refugee Smiles: Deah Barakah had planned to be in Turkey this summer to provide free dental aid to Syrian refugees and had been raising funds for dental supplies. The day before he died, he had raised around $16,000—the day following his death, his project had raised over $120,000.
All Lives Matter: The initial lack of media coverage of the students’ senseless deaths led to multiple social media campaigns, #MuslimLivesMatter and #ChapelHillShootings, that compelled mainstream media channels to catapult this tragedy to the top of their news cycles. The massive response to the students’ deaths underscored the fact that editorial boards no longer have the final say about which lives matter.
No apologies needed: The victims’ families (rightfully) refrained from asking people who shared the alleged perpetrator’s beliefs (he is a self-proclaimed atheist) to apologize for his brutal crime. Instead they had this to say on the Facebook page (Our Three Winners) they set up to honor their loved ones:
“Many, many amazing people have condemned this crime from across the world including many random people who seem to want to apologize for the heinous acts of this man. Muslims know all too well that the actions of few may not define the masses. Love shall overcome.”
One can only hope the family’s grace at this time of immeasurable grief will give pause to those who rush to implicate their billion co-religionists following every act of terrorism.