CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — A Raleigh-born journalist and her Syrian activist mother who were stabbed to death in Turkey is making one local family deal with the unthinkable – again.
Mother and daughter pair Orouba and Halla Barakat were cousins of one of the three young Muslims killed in Chapel Hill two-and-a-half years ago.
Now, the Barakat family is once again forced to live through a pain unlike any other.
“It’s just this gut feeling of disgust, and just like exhausted, like why?” Farris Barakat said.
It’s a feeling Barakat knows all too well. He first felt it in early 2015 when his brother Deah, Deah’s wife and her sister were brutally shot and killed in their home.
He first felt it in early 2015 when his brother Deah, Deah’s wife and her sister were brutally shot and killed in their home.
Now it’s his cousin Halla and her mother Orouba who were found brutally murdered in their Istanbul, Turkey apartment that’s making international headlines.
“It’s another part of our family that’s been devastated and another part of our family that has to deal with the grief of it all,” Barakat said.
Sitting down with CBS North Carolina evening anchor Sean Maroney, Barakat said the 60-year-old Orouba was known for her interviews with opponents of the Syrian regime who were tortured in prison.
Her 23-year-old daughter Halla – born at WakeMed and who at one point lived with Farris’ family in the Triangle – was a journalist in Turkey who reported on social justice, including being critical of the Syrian government’s treatment of its citizens.
“They were receiving death threats from the [Syrian] government. They were outspoken,” Barakat said. “They were, I think, picking at things that the government didn’t want picked at.”
Since the Chapel Hill shooting, Barakat, his mother and father have spoken publicly about the immeasurable amount of pain they’re experiencing.
When asked about the deaths of their cousins adding to it, Barakat said, “You know, God is putting us through this, and it’s up to Him to see us through.”
It’s that faith that’s sustaining them now as it has over the years.
Barakat said his family doesn’t expect answers in their cousins’ deaths, instead, they’re focused on remembering the joys they brought in life.