Three students of Palestinian descent shot while wearing traditional scarf and speaking Arabic amid rise in anti-Islamic incidents in the US

Monday 27 November 2023

Three students of Palestinian descent have been shot amid fears of a rise in anti-Islamic incidents in the US.

A man reportedly opened fire on the trio on a street near the university of Vermont and a suspect, identified as Jason J. Eaton, 48, was arrested on Sunday afternoon.

Hisham Awartani, a student at Brown University in Rhode Island, Kinnan Abdelhamid, a student at Haverford College in Pennsylvania and Tahseen Ahmed, who attends Trinity College in Connecticut, were identified as the victims.

Two of the students were reportedly wearing a keffiyeh, the traditional black-and-white chequered scarf of Middle Eastern dress.

Students Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdelhamid, and Tahseen Ahmed

Emergency service personnel respond to the incident

The trio were said to be speaking Arabic at the time of the attack according to the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU).

Reports vary as to what actually happened, with the IMEU saying the assailant opened fire on the three men after he began to shout at and harass them, while the Police say he fired four shots without saying a word.

Senator Bernie Sanders posted his rection on X saying: "It is shocking and deeply upsetting that three young Palestinians were shot here in Burlington, VT. Hate has no place here, or anywhere. I look forward to a full investigation. My thoughts are with them and their families."

Two of the victims are U.S. citizens and the third is a legal U.S. resident, all 20 years old

Police at the suspects house

Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad also released a statement in response that read: "In this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime,"

Two of the students were visiting the home of the third student's family in Burlington for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Police said all three remained under medical care on Sunday, two with gunshot wounds in their torsos and one shot in the lower extremities.

They said: "Two are stable, while one has sustained much more serious injuries."

Two of the victims are U.S. citizens and the third is a legal U.S. resident, all 20 years old, according to police.

Miro Weinberger, the Mayor of Burlington, said: "That there is an indication that this shooting could have been motivated by hate is chilling, and this possibility is being prioritised."