Despite no official evidence demonstrating that the killing of three Muslim Americans at North Carolina’s University of Chapel Hill was motivated by anti-Islamic prejudice, President Obama singled out the attack and said it had sparked worry and fear among Muslim Americans.
The president spoke at the White House as part of a three-day summit on “violent extremism” in Washington, D.C. He began his speech by listing off a series of recent terrorist attacks on American soil — including the Boston Marathon bombings — before veering off to address last week’s triple homicide in North Carolina.
“No one should ever be targeted because of who they are, or what they look like or how they worship,” he said. “Most recently with the brutal murders at Chapel Hill of three young Muslim Americans, many Muslim Americans are worried and afraid.”
“And I want to be as clear as I can be,” Obama continued. “As Americans of all faiths and all backgrounds, we stand with you in your grief. And we offer our love and we offer our support.”
Police have not yet found evidence that the killer, Craig Stevens Hicks, killed the three due to their religious beliefs. Although Hicks was reportedly a militant atheist opposed to both Christianity and Islam, he also clashed frequently with neighbors over an apartment parking space — a fact police believe played a large role in the shootings.