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CAIR Asks FBI to Probe Murder of American Muslim Journalist in Turkey

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/5/2017) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, today called on the FBI to investigate the murder of an American Muslim journalist in Turkey.

North Carolina-born American citizen Halla Barakat and her mother Orouba Barakat were murdered in their Istanbul apartment in September. Halla Barakat was a journalist who did work for Orient TV and was critical of the Syrian regime in much of her reporting. Orouba Barakat was active with the Syrian Opposition Council.

Multiple news stories indicate that there is a reason to suspect Assad regime involvement in the murders due to the women’s high-visibility activism. A person, believed to be a family member, was arrested by Turkish police. Local media reports indicate that investigators are looking into alleged connections between that suspect and the Assad regime. Additionally, the remains were doused with a chemical to prevent their decay, which delayed discovery of the crime.

SEE: Syrian-American Journalist and Her Mother, Friends Of ISIS Hostage Kayla Mueller, Killed In Turkey

American Journalist and Her Mother Murdered By Suspected Assad Regime Agents in Turkey

In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote in part:

“Your agency has jurisdiction to investigate the foreign murder of a U.S. national. Given the facts of the incident, we believe that the FBI should be fully involved in any investigation to determine if a U.S. national was targeted and killed by someone acting on behalf of the Assad regime in Syria. . .”

The U.S. government’s response to date has been a Department of State condemnation of the murders.

SEE: Deaths of Arouba and Halla Barakat

Halla Barakat was related to the North Carolina family whose son Deah Barakat was murdered in 2015 by a man who had expressed anti-Muslim sentiment.

SEE: Our Three Winners

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua. 

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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