Three Palestinian Students, Aged 20, Shot Near Vermont University Raises Concerns of Rising Hostility

Three Palestinian Students, Aged 20, Shot Near Vermont University Raises Concerns of Rising Hostility

In a disturbing incident near the University of Vermont, three young Palestinian men were shot, prompting concerns about escalating Islamophobia in the United States. The attack occurred weeks after a six-year-old Palestinian-American boy was fatally stabbed, raising alarms about rising hostility. Critics attribute the surge in anti-Arab and anti-Islam sentiments to media coverage amid Israel’s conflict with Gaza, which has claimed nearly 15,000 Palestinian lives.

Investigators suspect the shooting to be a hate-motivated crime. The victims, all students of Palestinian descent, were speaking Arabic, and two of them wore keffiyehs when attacked. Two sustained torso injuries, while one was shot in the lower extremities. Police are actively searching for the suspect, who, without speaking, discharged at least four rounds before fleeing the scene.

The victims, identified as Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Tahseen Ahmed, are 20-year-old graduates of the Ramallah Friends School in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Two are US citizens, and the third is a legal US resident. Awartani, a Palestinian-Irish-American and a student at Brown University, is described as a math genius. Unfortunately, he suffered a spinal cord injury and is hospitalized, expected to survive.


Abdalhamid, a student at Haverford College, is in touch with his overseas family, and Ahmed, a student at Trinity College in Connecticut, is stable after being shot in the chest. Jason J Eaton, 48, was arrested, and authorities are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime.

Police Chief Jon Murad urged caution in drawing conclusions and emphasized ongoing investigations. Various organizations, including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Institute for Middle East Understanding, express deep concern, calling for a thorough investigation and treating it as a hate crime.

US House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Governor Phil Scott condemned the shooting, advocating for unity and denouncing the rise of anti-Arab hate and Islamophobia. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the perpetrator’s arrest and conviction. Senator Bernie Sanders also expressed shock and denounced the incident, emphasizing that hate has no place anywhere.


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