Amira remembers Yusor

Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha’s best friend talks about her and about the murders. She’s very generous, and very level-headed.

As told to Latoya Peterson.

Words can’t really describe who she was. She’s such an amazing person. I feel like people always say that after they lose someone. This isn’t to boost her after her death—she really was a good person.

She always put others ahead of herself, just like her husband, Deah Barakat. I am the person I am today because of her. She’s a really sweet person, you never catch her angry. She’s patient, very loving, like her mom, she’s caring. She’s a good person. She was newly married and getting used to that life transition. She had just been accepted at Chapel Hill for dentistry.

Over the summer, Yusor went to Turkey. I’m a teacher at a small private school in Raleigh, and my school ran a collection drive for Project Refugee Smiles. My students were so excited to help. They collected so many toothbrushes and packages of dental floss that Yusor couldn’t carry it—she had to pay extra bag fees. She went with her mom to assist.

Not someone we could afford to lose, if you ask me.

I don’t know if I believe she was targeted for her beliefs. I don’t think so – I think the shooter, Craig Steven Hicks, is just an angry person. I know Yusor didn’t do anything to him – there’s no way she could have said even one thing wrong to him because she doesn’t get mad. She never says anything back even if someone yells at her. Her husband is even nicer, her sister is even nicer – none of them would have said anything to make someone that angry.

Three lives literally are gone just to justify…whatever he was thinking.

That’s what I mean by generous. Just an angry person – that’s a very unvindictive explanation.

I understand people look down on our religion. They think a lot of things, like we are terrorists. People don’t understand us Muslims are embarrassed of these people who are using Islam in bad ways to justify being cruel. Yusor and Deah represented a big part of our community—they were two good Muslims. Yusor believes in her religion. She is peaceful and she was raised well. She chose a healthy way of life. We weren’t extreme. We are the middle path. We aren’t strict on stuff outside of the head covering. I think there is a lot of misinterpretation of what Islam is.

I can’t understand why someone would hate them enough to kill them.

I read articles about this guy and they say he’s an atheist, but I don’t really know if that’s the connection the media makes it out to be. I’m not really sure if he thinks his act is justified.

Honestly, I don’t want to say, “Why her?” because I don’t want this to happen to anyone. What we’ve been feeling over the last 12 hours I don’t want anyone to ever feel.

More generosity.

I have so many questions for him.

She’s so young. Would you not let her blossom a bit more? What went through your mind? I mean, as you pulled the trigger you clearly killed people. You killed one, then you killed a second time, a third time. And you walked away from the scene. You took three young people. I don’t know if he has kids but how could you do that to someone’s child? And then just walk away. What is his motive? I wonder what would have happened if we were there? Would he have killed us all, since we were a bunch of hijabis? I can’t imagine. I have so many questions I don’t know how to word them all. And I want to know exactly what happened, all the details. I need to know.

There’s more. It’ll break your heart if you read it.

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