A man holds a placard during a vigil for three young Muslims killed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at Dupont Circle, Washington, DC., February 12, 2015 . AFP/MANDEL NGAN
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The circumstances were horrific, but Zahra Billoo was greatly encouraged by the vigil marking the slayings of three young Muslims near the University of North Carolina.More than 150 people – Muslims and non-Muslims – attended the candlelit gathering at a busy intersection in Fremont, California. Similar events were popping up across the country – "glimmers of hope," said the Muslim activist, that in the wake of this tragedy her people were finding a stronger voice in American civic life.Being Muslim in America has always posed challenges – now more than ever.Yet experts and advocates say Muslims are more organized and vocal in the wake of last week's triple shootings, which have spurred scores of vigils and generated messages of support from many quarters, including the White House. Evelyn Alsultany, a University of Michigan assistant professor who teaches about racism and representations of Arabs and Muslims, said to describe it only as hate crime or a parking dispute ignores what's happening in society.
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