The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday October 28th

Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha: ‘Everything she said had a light behind it’

<p>Photo courtesy of Ayesha Ahmad Photography.</p>
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Photo courtesy of Ayesha Ahmad Photography.

She was always eating something sweet. She liked pancakes and waffles at any time of day. She was the slowest and safest driver out of all of their friends. And she looked beautiful on her wedding day.

Yusor married Deah Shaddy Barakat on Dec. 27. Both were killed in a shooting Tuesday night in the Finley Forest Condominium complex in Chapel Hill.

A 21-year-old graduate of N.C. State University, Yusor studied human biology and had recently been admitted into the UNC School of Dentistry.

She was planning to start in August, joining her husband there.

Ata had known Yusor since third grade, and they’d been inseparable ever since, staying in school together through college.

Yusor volunteered with Project: Refugee Smiles, a program through which she traveled to Turkey and helped provide dental care to people in need.

Before she left, Ata and her students held a drive to collect toothbrushes and packages of dental floss for Yusor to take on her trip.

“She loved kids so much. They love her back,” Ata said.

When Yusor returned from Turkey, she brought cupcakes back to the school for all of Ata’s students — and she left an impression.

“Even my students today — they were messaging me saying, ‘We miss her so much already,’” Ata said.

Maryam Ahmed, president of the Muslim Student Association at Meredith College, said Yusor had the most gentle demeanor and calming presence.

“I just remember spending time with her,” Ahmed said. “She was one of those people where everything she said had a light behind it. She never said a bad word about anyone.”

Ahmed said it was always a pleasure to be around Yusor.

“In high school, I was talking to her about finals,” Ahmed said. “She was so comforting. She said, ‘I know you can do this. I know we can all achieve.’”

Along with her husband, Yusor was a part of the founding team of the United Muslim Relief’s community chapter in the Triangle.

At a vigil held at UNC on Wednesday night, Nada Salem said she and Yusor were supposed to start dental school together.

“After our first hangout, we knew that it was meant to be,” Salem said. “She was our sister. She was family.”


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