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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Unraveling the Hate: Palestinian Students Shot in Vermont Demand Justice

In a shocking incident on Saturday, three Palestinian students were shot in the peaceful state of Vermont, prompting their families to implore the police to investigate the attack as a hate crime. Hisham Awartani, Tahseen Ahmed, and Kinnan Abdalhamid found themselves confronted and shot near the University of Vermont Campus, according to the Burlington police.

A Violent Encounter

The victims, wearing keffiyeh, a traditional scarf, and conversing in Arabic, were targeted by an assailant identified as Jason J Eaton, a 48-year-old arrested by Burlington police, as reported by CBS News, the BBC’s media partner in the US. The police are currently delving into the possible motives behind this appalling act.

Victims in Focus

The victims, all in their twenties, were no strangers to academia. Mr. Abdalhamid was identified as a student at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, Mr. Awartani at Brown University, and Mr. Ahmed attending Trinity College in Connecticut. These three friends, having attended Ramallah Friends School, a Quaker-run private non-profit school in Ramallah, found themselves in the crossfire of violence while innocently attending a child’s birthday party.

Shockwaves in the Community

Rich Price, an uncle of one of the victims, expressed the disbelief of the local community, stating, “The last thing that we imagine could be possible was that in our family neighborhood, they would walk down the street, and this would happen to them.” He recounted the chilling moment when the sirens and police lights passed his home, unaware that his nephew and friends were the victims.

Seeking Justice

In a statement released through the pro-Palestinian non-profit organization Middle East Understanding, the families of the victims demanded a thorough investigation, urging law enforcement to treat this incident as a hate crime. Their statement read, “We will not be comfortable until the shooter is brought to justice.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations also offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

A Troubling Trend

The unfortunate incident occurs amid a surge in Islamophobic and antisemitic incidents in the United States, including violent assaults and online harassment, escalating since the Israel-Hamas conflict began on October 7th. Bernie Sanders, Vermont senator and former Democrat presidential candidate, condemned the violence, emphasizing, “Hate has no place here, or anywhere.”

Global Outcry

Ambassador Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK, shared a photo of the trio on social media, adding his voice to the call to end hate crimes against Palestinians. As the global community echoes the sentiment that hate must be eradicated, the investigation into this shocking attack continues.

In conclusion, the incident in Vermont serves as a stark reminder of the need to address and combat hate crimes, fostering a world where individuals can peacefully coexist irrespective of their background or beliefs.

Lillian Hocker
Lillian Hocker
Lillian Hocker is a seasoned technology journalist and analyst, specializing in the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital culture. With over a decade of experience, Lillian has contributed insightful articles to leading tech publications. Her work dives deep into emerging technologies, startup ecosystems, and the impact of digital transformation on industries worldwide. Prior to her career in journalism, she worked as a software engineer at a Silicon Valley startup, giving her firsthand experience of the tech industry's rapid evolution.

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