Sunday, March 3, 2024

US: Palestinian students wearing keffiyeh shot in suspected hate crime

Three Palestinian students have been shot on Sunday near a university campus in Vermont in the United States.

According to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) the victims were wearing Palestinian scarfs (keffiyeh) and were reportedly speaking Arabic when they were shot.

The three were identified as Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdel Hamid and Tahseen Ahmed. They are studying at three different universities in the US.

A man with a pistol shot the three victims on the street near the University of Vermont and then ran away, Burlington police said in a statement.

Two victims are U.S. citizens and the third is a legal U.S. resident, all 20 years old, police said. Two of the men were wearing a keffiyeh, the traditional black-and-white checkered scarf of Middle Eastern dress, at the time of the attack, police said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator or perpetrators of the shooting.

CAIR also called on state and federal law enforcement authorities in Vermont to investigate a possible “bias motive” for the shooting.

“Due to the unprecedented spike in anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate and violence we have witnessed in recent weeks, local, state and national law enforcement authorities must investigate a possible bias motive for the shooting of these three young men,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “We hope our reward will result in information leading to an arrest in this case.”

He noted that CAIR recently welcomed arrests in two recent alleged anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate crimes in New York.

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