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Muslim leaders: Family ‘feels like they were targeted’ in shooting because of faith

Jibril Hough (left), spokesperson for The Islamic Center of Charlotte answers a question during a press conference, as Imam Bassam Obeid, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Deputy Chief Jeff Estes, and Fadi Deeb listen, while on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The Islamic Center of Charlotte held a news conference to address the recent shooting of one of the community member's home. Eighteen shots were fired and one person inside the home was injured.
Jibril Hough (left), spokesperson for The Islamic Center of Charlotte answers a question during a press conference, as Imam Bassam Obeid, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Deputy Chief Jeff Estes, and Fadi Deeb listen, while on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The Islamic Center of Charlotte held a news conference to address the recent shooting of one of the community member's home. Eighteen shots were fired and one person inside the home was injured. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Muslim leaders in Charlotte said a family “feels like they were targeted” on Tuesday because of their religion, when someone fired 18 bullets at their home on the city’s east side, seriously injuring a woman.

Jibril Hough, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte, stopped short of calling the shooting a hate crime, but police said classifying the case as such is still an option.

“We don’t want Charlotte to be known as a place where people are not safe, where Muslims are not safe,” Hough said at a news conference Wednesday. “This case really needs attention. It needs to be investigated to the fullest extent. Whatever is found, the perpetrators need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

On Tuesday, 18 bullets were fired into the fence and home of a family on Shiny Meadow Lane in eastern Mecklenburg County. One bullet went through a second-floor window, striking a woman in the thigh as she slept, police and Muslim leaders said. The woman was at the hospital in intensive care on Tuesday, but her condition had improved on Wednesday and is no longer life-threatening.

Hough withheld the woman’s name because the people who fired the shots have not been caught. Her husband, a limousine driver originally from Morocco, asked to be identified only by his first name, Abdul.

Abdul volunteered at the Islamic Center of Charlotte during open houses that introduced non-Muslims to the Islamic faith. Hough described him as outgoing and gregarious and said he had never seen Abdul get into a confrontation. The family had received no threats before the shots were fired into their house, Hough said.

Police don’t have a suspect in the case and asked the public to come forward with information. Deputy Chief Jeff Estes, who attended the news conference, said officers have not classified the case as a hate crime because they don’t have enough information.

“In order to do that we have to find a motive, and in order to find motive we want to make sure we locate the responsible parties,” Estes said. “We keep all options open absolutely.”

Hough, who was flanked by other Muslim leaders, said the family is looking for justice and that the case should concern all people in Charlotte, not just Muslims.

“This is a serious case when someone’s house can be fired at 18 times and no one really has a clue,” he said. “When was the last time a house got fired at 18 times in Charlotte?”

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Twitter: @CleveWootson

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