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Raleigh Islamic School Starts Scholarship Fund Honoring Chapel Hill Shooting Victims

Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha were shot and killed in a Chapel Hill apartment complex.

Administrators at Al-Iman School in Raleigh where Yusor Abu-Salha, Razan Abu-Salha and Deah Barakat studied elementary and middle schools are creating a scholarship and awards fund in their memory.

The endowment, called "Our Three Winners," will be announced at an annual fundraiser on Saturday.

Yusor, her sister, Razan, and Yusor's husband, Barakat, were shot and killed in their Chapel Hill apartment on February 10. Prosecutors charged their neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, with three counts of first degree murder. They will seek the death penalty in the case.

Barakat and the Abu Salha sisters studied most of elementary and middle schools at Al-Iman which offers education from kindergarten through eighth grade. Principal Mussarut Jabeen, who taught English and social studies classes to the three, said students and faculty are trying to carry out their legacy.

"Students are coming up with service projects," she said. "We are also coming up with monthly projects to teach them about giving and compassion."

Jabeen, who recorded a popular StoryCorps interview with Yusor last year, says the school will create ongoing scholarships and three annual awards. The awards will be given in remembrance of Barakat’s leadership, Yusor’s dedication to community service and Razan’s creativity.

"This is something that is very close to our hearts," Jabeen said. "This is how we want to honor them."

Since the tragedy, the victims' families and people across the world have been calling on authorities to investigate it as a potential hate crime. Jabeen said the event has urged community members to reach out and engage in more public activities.

"As Muslims, we know that it’s important to take care of our neighbors and to let them know who we are," she said.

Reema Khrais joined WUNC in 2013 to cover education in pre-kindergarten through high school. Previously, she won the prestigious Joan B. Kroc Fellowship. For the fellowship, she spent a year at NPR where she reported nationally, produced on Weekends on All Things Considered and edited on the digital desk. She also spent some time at New York Public Radio as an education reporter, covering the overhaul of vocational schools, the contentious closures of city schools and age-old high school rivalries.
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