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Obama Condemns 'Brutal And Outrageous Murders'

U.S. President Barack Obama has described the deaths of three young Muslims gunned down in North Carolina this week as "brutal and outrageous murders."

Obama said no one in the United States should be targeted for their religion.

Obama's statement on February 13 came as the U.S. Justice Department said it would join the FBI to investigate whether the man accused in the Chapel Hill shooting on February 10 broke any federal laws, including hate crime laws.

The families had called on Obama to insist that federal authorities investigate whether the murder suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, was motivated by hatred toward the victims because they were Muslim.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised the three victims, who were all involved in humanitarian aid work, as representing the best values of global citizenship.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters