Self-described “anti-theist” Craig Stephen Hicks has been arrested after allegedly murdering three young American Muslims in North Carolina, in culmination of anti-religion messages he bragged on social media.
“How could any decent person NOT condemn the vile murder of three young US Muslims in Chapel Hill?” Richard Dawkins, a vocal opponent of organized religion and “new atheist” author, tweeted, The Independent reported on Wednesday, February 11.
According to police cops, Hicks handed himself in to officers in Chapel Hill overnight after killing 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.
He has been arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
The Independent highlighted a Facebook page in Hicks’ name which showed that he read paralegal studies at Durham Technical Community College.
The page shows a regular media user who described himself as a supporter of “Atheists for Equality”.
His most recent posts included a picture from United Atheists of America asking “why radical Christians and radical Muslims are so opposed to each others’ influence when they agree about so many ideological issues”.
TV programs liked by Hicks include The Atheist Experience, Criminal Minds and Friends.
He also describes himself as a fan of Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason and Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion.
Other posts clearly mocked religion, supporting atheism. In one of his photos, he describes as his “loaded 38 revolver” and himself separately on a quad bike and wearing a suit.
“Yes, that is 1 pound 5.1 ounces for my loaded 38 revolver, its holster, and five extra rounds in a speedloader,” the post on the photo reads.
The brutal execution-style execution has sparked angry reactions worldwide.
Some rushed to social media, condemning the fact that the religion of the murderer, who turned himself in to the police, was not identified.
Media reports also referred to him as suspected attacker and not terrorist as they do when the attacker is a Muslim.
One of the victims, Barakat, majored in business administration and management at NCSU before enrolling at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013 to pursue his doctorate in dental surgery.
According to News Observer, he and his young wife Yusor advocated for global dental health, providing care and supplies to people in the United States and the Middle East.
On Jan. 29, Barakat posted a Facebook photo of a Durham project that gave dental supplies and food to more than 75 homeless people this year.
Barakat was scheduled to travel with 10 other dentists this summer to Reyhanli, Turkey, in a campaign organized by UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry and the Syrian-American Medical Society.
There, they planned to treat Syrian refugee students for urgent dental needs, pass out toothbrushes and toothpaste, and support Turkish dentists and clinics in “Project: Refuge Smiles”.
Ref: Islam Story