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Palestinian Student Hisham Awartani Paralyzed in Vermont Shooting

In a tragic turn of events, Hisham Awartani, a 20-year-old Palestinian-American student at Brown University, has been left paralyzed following a shooting incident in Burlington, Vermont.

Details of the Incident: On November 25, near the University of Vermont campus, Awartani and his friends, Tahseen Aliahmad and Kinnan Abdalhamid, were confronted and shot by 48-year-old Jason Eaton. While Aliahmad and Abdalhamid are on the path to recovery, Awartani suffered a severe spinal injury, resulting in paralysis from the chest down.

Suspect Pleads Not Guilty: Eaton, the alleged shooter, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder. The incident is under investigation as a potential hate crime, with Eaton being held without bond. The students were reportedly wearing Palestinian keffiyeh scarves and conversing in English and Arabic when attacked.

Awartani’s Condition and Family Statement: Awartani’s family, in a statement for a fundraiser to support his medical expenses, highlighted his courage and resilience despite the daunting reality of his paralysis. The GoFundMe page set up for him has seen significant support, reflecting the community’s solidarity with Awartani.

Context of the Shooting: The shooting of Awartani and his friends occurs against a backdrop of increasing anti-Islamic, anti-Arab, and antisemitic incidents in the United States, following the onset of the war on Gaza in October. This incident has raised concerns about the safety of minority communities and the prevalence of hate crimes.

Looking Ahead: Despite his challenging circumstances, Awartani remains determined to continue his education and is planning to start his next semester on time.

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