Suspect arrested after Palestinian students attacked by gunman in Vermont

Hisham Awartani, Tahseen Ali and Kenan Abdulhamid

A 48 year old suspect has been arrested after three Palestinian students were shot in the U.S. state of Vermont on Saturday night.

Police in the city of Burlington said that they received a report of a shooting attack on Saturday evening and found three university students injured at the scene who were on their way to a family dinner.

Local media reported that the students were receiving treatment at Vermont Medical Hospital and that they were not in any life-threatening condition.

Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said Jason J. Eaton, 48, was detained Sunday afternoon after agents encountered him while conducting a canvass at the location of the shooting.

Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestinian Mission in the UK, said on the social media platform X: “Three young Palestinian men, Hisham Awartani, Tahseen Ali and Kenan Abdulhamid, students at Brown and other US universities, were shot last night on their way to a family dinner in Burlington, USA. Their crime? Wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh. They are critically injured. The hate crimes against Palestinians must stop.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had offered a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator or perpetrators of the attack.

CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said: “We welcome the arrest of a suspect in this shooting, and we encourage law enforcement to file state and federal hate crime charges if the evidence confirms that anti-Palestinian racism motivated this attack. We also call on elected officials to reject and condemn the rise in anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Palestinian racism that has led to hate crimes, discrimination, and censorship targeting everyone from students to workers to protestors who dare to speak up for Palestinian human rights.”

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The shootings come weeks after the murder of a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy and the wounding of his mother who were “targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis.”

These incidents come as Muslims, Arabs, and Palestinians across the country report a surge in anti-Muslim and anti-Arab hate since the escalation of violence in Palestine and Israel last month.

Earlier this month, CAIR released new data indicating a 216 percent surge in complaints, including reported incidents of bias, reported to its offices since the start of the crisis on October 7th.

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