Family Of Slain Muslims Choose To Give Back To The Community

Farris Barakat's brother was killed in the terrible Chapel Hill shooting early this year, but he's chosen to respond with peace and education.

The shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina was one of the most devastating attacks of this past year—three unarmed, young Muslim people were shot and killed: 23-year-old Deah Barakat, of Syrian decent, and his 21-year old wife and her 19-year-old sister, Yusor and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Barakat’s family has every reason to feel angry and resentful, yet they have chosen to transform any anger into a force for good. Barakat’s brother, Farris Barakat, has created an organization called the Light House, converting Barakat’s old house into a community center. The name derives from Deah’s—“Deah” means “light” in Arabic.

The Light House project aims to educate others about Islam and the Muslim community, while encouraging social entrepreneurship; its mission statement is “Reclaiming the Muslim Narrative.”

Farris told the Associated Press that, “We're not different, we're not scary, we're not 'the other' and I think people should see that.” Yusor and Razan’s father added that, “it's all about protecting all other children in the U.S.A. — it is all about making this country that they loved and where they lived and died peaceful for everybody else. We need to identify things as they really are."

This amazing form of activism and community engagement is the perfect response to an act of hatred that splintered an innocent family, and will hopefully help provide the education that will prevent future such attacks from occurring. 

Banner Image Credit: Youtube, Associated Press

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