WATCH ABOVE: Thousands join funeral for murdered Muslims
RALEIGH, N.C. — Family, friends and supporters gathered Thursday for services for three young adults shot in North Carolina in what police call a parking dispute.
Funeral services were planned for one of Raleigh’s largest mosques, where the families are longtime members. But, with a crowd estimated at 5,500, the service was moved to athletic fields across from the mosque. The fields are owned by North Carolina State University, where two victims had graduated and one was a student.
That service began after midday prayers. Earlier, the families and some friends viewed the victims’ bodies in a small building apart from the mosque.
At the service’s conclusion, about a dozen people carried each of the three caskets away to hearses, which headed to an Islamic cemetery outside Raleigh.
Twenty-three-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat; his 21-year-old wife, Yusor Mohammad; and her 19-year-old sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were killed Tuesday.
Forty-six-year-old neighbor Craig Stephen Hicks is charged with murder.
Police on Thursday were trying to determine whether religious hatred played any role in the killing of three Muslims in North Carolina, a crime they said was sparked by a neighbour’s long-simmering anger over parking and noise inside their condominium complex.
Canadian Muslim community
The Canadian Muslim community shared condolences to the three victims.
“In light of the incident in North Carolina, we Canadians must remain united against intolerance and bigotry,” said Lal Khan Malik, National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada, in a press release. “Those who seek to divide us with fear and hate must never succeed.”
Those gathered Thursday — N.C. State police estimated a crowd of 5,500 — grappled with questions about whether the violence had some connection to their Muslim faith. The father of the two slain women says hatred of Muslims might explain why the dispute erupted into death. Officials have said they’re still investigating any possibilities the crime was hate-motivated.
-with a file from Global News