What follows is a transcription of the speech Farris gave at the candlelight vigil on UNC-Chapel Hill campus following the tragic terroristic murder of his brother, his new sister in-law and her sister by their radicalized anti-theist neighbor. In the days following, both families exhibited the powerful character that all Muslims can look toward for emulation. They chose to call for justice instead of vengeance and asked for the community to respond with mercy in the name of their beloved children, brother, sisters, and in-laws. They presented us with strength and resolve so that the memories of three individuals dedicated to service could shine through the time of tragedy. Let us all listen, let us all learn the legacy of our three winners: Deah, Yusor and Razan.– Editor
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. I greet you all with the message of peace and I’m honored to be here today. I have received so many messages of support from across the world. I’ve seen people try to apologize for this act, when trust me as a Muslim, I know that one act cannot define a mass. I thank you all for coming here. I literally can’t even see the end of the crowd. My family thanks you for coming here.
Yesterday we got news that maybe my brother, his wife, and Yusor’s sister Razan was visiting, might be caught up in an incident here on campus. My mom was comfortable with the idea, she said, “I feel good. I know nothing happened.” A little roller coaster ride later, we find ourselves in the same spot. Anytime someone comes to me, and it’s been so many people, I tell them, “Alhamdulillah” which means Praise be to God. We say that in good and in bad knowing that God is the Most Wise because I know I couldn’t make sense of it. I know many others couldn’t make any sense of it either, so we depend on God The Wise in this time. We say “Alhamdulillah” because we know. When I imagine my brother now with his bride Yusor, and Razan, they are elated and happy in the highest levels of Paradise.
We’re taught that life is a bridge. You don’t want to build on the bridge; you want to build when you get there. So my brother, his wife, and Razan lived a life where they were planning for the next life. They didn’t build for the bridge, they got to their destination, and you have no idea how much comfort that brings us. Literally, I’ve laughed at how amazing for my brother to first get married before me, right? And then become so passionate about Dentistry and see him light up when he talks about his UNC buddies here. He always beat me, so he beat me home and I’m sure, the only thing that makes me cry really is when I see Yusor’s friends, that to me just doesn’t make sense, but when I see them cry, I just can’t handle it. Them, us, Abu Salha family, we’re on the same boat, we’re happy, we know life is short.
I plead that you live in their legacy, that you share the good that you know of them, and take the message my mom wanted to make public, and do not fight fire with fire. If and it is quite possible that this was an act based off of evil; a scared, ignorant man. Do not let ignorance propagate in your life. Do not reply to ignorance with ignorance. Become an amazing, bright, intellectual that I know that this university can create. The Facebook group I first created, I said, “Maybe let’s use our three angels.” I thought that was overused and technically they aren’t angels. They sure acted like it sometimes, but they are literally our three winners. They’ve won, they’ve passed the challenge that is this life, and literally I ask you to see the comfort in that.
We’re going to cry because we miss them. I had an appointment with him today at two that I had to miss. I don’t know what I’m going to do on Saturday mornings when it’s time for family breakfast, and today I’ve reached for my phone so many times to text him like, “Yo man, NFL stars Chris Rock. These guys are talking about … Oh.” I was so happy this message is out that these three individuals lived an amazing life and I wanted to share that experience with my brother, and literally this is kind of what hurts me the most is that I just really wish he was here to see it all.
At some point, we are going to move on, move on with dignity, be the students that I know UNC Chapel Hill and NC State and Central and whoever else is here that can make you be, and be citizens of this world because we lost three great citizens of this world and of this country, but I think they’ve inspired thousands. I thank you for your time, for your support, and God bless you all, and if you see someone crying, tell them, “Deah’s happy. Yusor is happy. Razan is happy.” Again, thank you.