November 28, 2023
I am heartbroken and horrified that three young Palestinian young men, Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdel Hamid, and Tahseen Amed, were shot in Burlington last weekend. Their families recently launched a fund to offer support to the three students. I encourage you to show your support for these students and their families in the face of this senseless act of violence by donating today. Your contributions will go towards medical, rehabilitation and other expenses related to their recovery.
I hope Hisham, Kinnan, and Tahseen are able to recover swiftly. Any act of violence impacts victims of crime as well as entire communities. I know this harms the families and loved ones of the victims as well as the entire Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab communities in Vermont and abroad.
One of the things that makes Burlington special is our commitment to justice, inclusion and multiculturalism. Violence has no place in our community -- especially hate motivated violence. And we must acknowledge that reports indicate that anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic hate crimes are on the rise in our country. This is a moment of reflection and recommitment to our values as a community.
I appreciate the Burlington Police Department and Burlington Fire Department’s swift response the night of the shootings. I am also grateful for the efficient investigative work by the Police Department, State’s Attorney Sarah George, and state and federal partners ending in the arrest of the suspected shooter in less than 24 hours.
While we await the legal process to unfold, I expect that the Burlington Police Department and State’s Attorney's Office will utilize all available resources to determine whether these victims were targeted and whether a hate crime was committed. If it is not deemed a hate crime legally, we will frankly be surprised and, regardless, will recognize the disproportionate impact it has on Arab, Muslim, and especially Palestinian communities.
Hate has no place in our community or state.
-State Rep. Emma Mulvaney-Stanak