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In Chapel Hill, an American travesty

He was different.

Deah Barakat, 23, was a devout Muslim.

He was born in Raleigh and graduated from Broughton High School.

He loved basketball.

People who knew him said he was never without a smile.

He graduated from N.C. State University, business school class of 2013, magna cum laude.

He was studying at UNC-Chapel Hill to become a dentist.

He was raising money for a dental mission to Turkey this summer to help Syrian refugee children.

His family was of Syrian descent; he knew something of the language and culture.

Six weeks ago, he married Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21.

She was different.

She was a devout Muslim.

She was born in her family’s native Jordan and came to the United States as an infant.

Her family moved to Raleigh and her father, a psychiatrist, opened a practice in nearby Clayton.

She went to Athens Drive High School and worked on the student newspaper.

She routinely participated in service projects and charity events in Raleigh’s Muslim community.

She graduated from N.C. State and was to enter UNC-CH’s dental school in the fall.

She had already been on a dental aid mission to Turkey.

She had a sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, who came over to her Chapel Hill condo to visit Tuesday evening.

She was different.

She was a devout Muslim.

She, too, graduated from Athens Drive High School, where she, too, worked on the student newspaper.

She started at N.C. State’s College of Design in August.

She made the dean’s list in her first semester.

She wanted to be an architect in the Raleigh area.

She planned to join her sister and her husband on the dental mission to Turkey.

She helped her sister cook on weekends, food for homeless people in Raleigh.

They were different.

They were avid Wolfpack fans.

They treated people with dignity and respect.

Already in their young lives, each had demonstrated a pattern of caring for less fortunate strangers.

Last Tuesday night, they were slaughtered.

They were different. Because each one represented the very best in us all.

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