Washington, Feb 14: US President Barack Obama condemned the "brutal and outrageous murders" of three Muslim students in the state of North Carolina earlier this week and said that no one should be targeted for their looks or modes of worship.
"No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship," Obama said in a statement, according to a CNN report on Friday.
"Michelle and I offer our condolences to the victims' loved ones," the US president said.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is probing the killings along with local police, who believe that the shooting was related to a parking dispute, though they have not ruled out the possibility of it being a hate crime.
Deah Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu Salha, 21 and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu Salha, 19, were sot dead in their apartment by the 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, who surrendered to the authorities "without incident".
The three victims were students of the University of North Carolina and the victims' family said that they believed the killings were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment.
Obama: Michelle and I offer our condolences to the victims' loved ones
"As we saw with the overwhelming presence at the funeral of these young Americans, we are all one American family," Obama said.
"Whenever anyone is taken from us before their time, we remember how they lived their lives -- and the words of one of the victims should inspire the way we live ours," he noted.
Obama then quoted one of the victims, Yusor Mohammed.
"Growing up in America has been such a blessing," Yusor had said recently. "It doesn't matter where you come from. There (are) so many different people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions -- but here, we're all one."