RELIGION

FBI takes on probe of 3 Muslims slain in North Carolina after family complains of hate crime

  • Namee Barakat, center, watches during funeral services for his son, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, in Wendell, N.C.  Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were found dead Tuesday at their home near the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus. Charged with three counts of first-degree murder is Craig Stephen Hicks. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Chuck Liddy)

    Namee Barakat, center, watches during funeral services for his son, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, in Wendell, N.C. Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were found dead Tuesday at their home near the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus. Charged with three counts of first-degree murder is Craig Stephen Hicks. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Chuck Liddy)  (The Associated Press)

  • Fatima Chrifi, a teacher at Georgetown University, center, prays with a group of Muslims and their supporters during Friday prayers outside the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, in the wake of the murder of three young North Carolina Muslims. The gathering was in memory of the Chapel Hill shooting victims, and to press federal authorities for a hate crime investigation.? "I'm here to denounce hate and violence," says Chrifi, "and to bring awareness to this issue." (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    Fatima Chrifi, a teacher at Georgetown University, center, prays with a group of Muslims and their supporters during Friday prayers outside the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, in the wake of the murder of three young North Carolina Muslims. The gathering was in memory of the Chapel Hill shooting victims, and to press federal authorities for a hate crime investigation.? "I'm here to denounce hate and violence," says Chrifi, "and to bring awareness to this issue." (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)  (The Associated Press)

  • A student from Georgetown University, who asked not to be named, sings the call to prayer as a group of Muslim people and their supporters prepare to say the Friday prayers outside the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, in the wake of the murder of three young North Carolina Muslims. The gathering was in memory of the Chapel Hill shooting victims, and to press federal authorities for a hate crime investigation.? (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    A student from Georgetown University, who asked not to be named, sings the call to prayer as a group of Muslim people and their supporters prepare to say the Friday prayers outside the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, in the wake of the murder of three young North Carolina Muslims. The gathering was in memory of the Chapel Hill shooting victims, and to press federal authorities for a hate crime investigation.? (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)  (The Associated Press)

The FBI says it's launching an inquiry parallel to a police homicide investigation as families demand a federal hate-crime investigation of three young Muslims allegedly slain by a North Carolina neighbor.

Muslim groups plan to press federal authorities for a hate-crime investigation by holding Friday prayers in front of the White House.

The FBI's main North Carolina office said Thursday its preliminary inquiry seeks "to determine whether or not any federal laws were violated." The FBI says it's also continuing to help police in the college town of Chapel Hill process evidence.

Craig Stephen Hicks has been jailed on first-degree murder charges in the deaths.

The father of 21-year-old Yusor Abu-Salha and her sister, 19-year-old Razan Abu-Salha, says the neighbor killed them because they were Muslims. They were killed along with Yusor's husband, Deah Barakat.