Turkish President Erdoğan chides Obama for silence on Chapel Hill Muslim murders
MEXICO CITY - Reuters
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (C) delivers a speech next to his wife and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto (R) at the National Palace in Mexico City on February 12, 2015. AFP PhotoTurkish President Tayyip Erdoğan on Feb. 12 criticized U.S. President Barack Obama for his silence following the killings of three young Muslims in North Carolina this week, in the latest sign relations between the two leaders have become strained.
Speaking alongside Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto during a state visit to Latin America's No. 2 economy, Erdoğan 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," Erdoğan said, condemning those responsible for the crime.
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. The White House said on Wednesday it would await the results of the police investigation before commenting.
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 in a condominium about two miles (three km) from the UNC campus in Chapel Hill.
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.
CAIR welcomes FBI’s decision
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., has welcomed the FBI’s decision to open an investigation into the “execution-style” killings.
“We welcome the FBI’s increased involvement in this tragic case and hope the added resources and expertise the bureau has to offer will help see that justice is served,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad in a Feb. 12 statement.
“This case is quickly becoming a touchstone for the American Muslim community’s sense of security and inclusion,” Awad added.
On Feb. 11, CAIR called on law enforcement authorities to address speculation about a possible bias motive for the killings.
CAIR describes itself as America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, with a mission to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.