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Teacher Remembers North Carolina Shooting Victims


Mussarut Jabeen is head of the Al-Iman School in Raleigh, North Carolina. She knew all three young people who were murdered in North Carolina on February 10. She provided Islamic education to Yusor Abu-Salha, Deah Barakat and Razan Abu-Salha when they were children.

“I taught Yusor, I taught Deah, and I taught Razan.”

The three were killed in their house in Chapel Hill. They were 23, 21 and 19 years old. Deah and Yusor were recently married; Yusor and Razan were sisters.

Their former teacher, Sister Jabeen, says the young people were always trying to do good.

Deah Barakat was studying at the University of North Carolina. He was hoping to become a dentist – a doctor who cares for people’s mouth and teeth. He even started a campaign to provide dental care to Syrian refugee children.

“Have you ever felt helpless about the situation in Syria and felt like you can’t do anything about it? Well, this is your opportunity to help.”

Sister Jabeen says she hopes people remember Deah for the good he did.

“He had a cause in his mind. He had a mission in his mind.”

Sister Jabeen says all three shooting victims wanted to help their communities and their school. She says Razan Abu-Salha assisted with a Saturday class on the Quran.

“So, that by itself shows how much volunteerism was in her as a young lady.”

Sister Jabeen says Razan’s older sister, Yusor, was very mature for her age, and a very happy person.

“Very polite. Very gentle.”

Sister Jabeen says Deah, Yusor and Razan were all caring, helpful people.

“All kids are wonderful, you know, but there are some that are just outstanding. We need more people like that. And that’s what I say, that it’s now more challenging for me, that’s a goal for me to have more Deahs and more Yusors and more Razans.”

A neighbor is charged with killing the young people. Police say the murders may be related to a parking dispute. But some activists are asking officials to investigate the murders as a hate crime because the victims were Muslim. Officials have not yet said how they will consider the case.

I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.

VOA’s Arash Arabasadi reported on this story from North Carolina. Kelly Jean Kelly wrote it for VOA Learning English. George Grow edited the story.

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Words in This Story

dentaladj. relating to teeth or the work dentists do

mature adj. having or showing the mental and emotional qualities of an adult

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