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Bay Ridge community mourns Chapel Hill victims

The FBI has opened its own investigation into the murder of three Muslim students. North Carolina officials are still investigating whether there’s sufficient evidence to charge the alleged killer with hate crimes. Here in New York, about a hundred people gathered in Bay Ridge Brooklyn to call for ustice and remember the victims. Chava Gourarie reports.

On one short stretch of Fifth Avenue you can attend Masjid, buy Halal meat, shop for a Hijab and hear multiple Arabic dialects. And every Friday, hundreds gather at The Islamic Center, to say the noon prayers.

Today, after they prayed, many of them walked a block to the Arab American Association, and they expressed fear and anger over the week’s events.

Zeinab Khalil, who works with the advocacy group the Arab American Association of New York, said it’s important to understand that what happened in North Carolina is not an isolated incident.

Khalil: But understanding it as part of this larger context of raising Islamaphobia and anti-Arab sentiment across the United States.

Khalil said that this week the women she works with have been saying they are afraid to go out in public wearing hijab. Some have worn hats to be less conspicuous.

Khalil: It’s absolutely shaken the community. That’s why we heard a lot of women who otherwise would say that they love living here now kind of say oh we’re kind of afraid to be so visibly Muslim or visibly Arab today.

The worry for Manal Kawas is closer to home.

Kawas: And I’m just a start to be worried about my children.

She has three daughters who wear hijab. She sees similarities between them and the two Muslim American victims who wore hijab.

Kawas: Very unique children who is the future and who’s can build good bridge between the Muslim culture, Arabic Muslim culture, and for the other cultures, please don’t judge them by their hijabis stuff.

Other people who gathered at the event demanded justice.

Muslim American and human rights organizations continue to rally and call for change.

Chava Gourarie, Columbia Radio News.

Arianna Skibell co-reported and produced this piece.


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