(JTA) — Palestinian Authority officials asked to be involved in the FBI inquiry into the shootings of three Muslims in Chapel Hill, N.C.,
The three murder victims — sisters Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, and Yusor Mohammad, 21, and Yusor’s husband, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23 — were of Palestinian descent.
The P.A.’s Foreign Ministry called for a serious investigation and the involvement of Palestinian investigators.
“We consider it a serious indication of the growth of racism and religious extremism which is a direct threat to the lives of hundreds of thousands of American citizens who follow the Islamic faith,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement that called accused shooter Craig Hicks “an American extremist and hateful racist.”
The ministry also called the murder “terrorism, which targets civilians based on their religion.” Demonstrations against the murders were held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The inquiry announced Thursday into the murders near the University of North Carolina campus is not a full investigation, according to the Washington Post, but a review that could turn into an investigation. The FBI, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina are involved in the probe.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said in a statement Friday that the inquiry will deduce if “any federal laws, including hate crime laws, were violated” in the shooting, according to the Washington Post.