(TBO.com) - The family of the Tampa teenager who was beaten by Israeli soldiers last week said they have three wishes. The first two are straightforward, though not simple - that their nephew is allowed to come home quickly and that the soldiers who hurt him face justice.
The last is more problematic: They would like peace in the Middle East.
“The violence must stop on all sides. We must value human life, especially the lives of children, above political and religious differences,” said Hassan Shibly, attorney and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is speaking for the family in the United States.
Tariq Khdeir, 15, was vacationing in Israel with his parents, Suha Khdeir and Salah Khdeir, when he was beaten. A videotape of the incident has circulated around the world.
Shibly’s organization held a press conference in Tampa on Monday with Tariq’s aunt and uncle. Tariq’s aunt, Sanah Abukhdeir of Tampa, said her nephew was excited to get reacquainted with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. He hadn’t been to his family’s homeland in 10 years, wasn’t used to the lifestyle there and had no plans of violence, she said.
“He’s a Tampa kid,” Sanah Abukhdeir said. “Doesn’t know what war is. Doesn’t know what a war zone is. Didn’t know he was going to get involved with this. It was a family-fun vacation turned into as you can see one of the worst tragedies in our family.”
TAMPA, Fla. (TBO.com) - The family of Tariq Abu Khdeir, the 15-year-old Tampa boy whose brutal beating at the hands of Israeli police has made global headlines, was relieved to learn Sunday that he was released from jail.
Tariq was sentenced to nine days of home detention while police investigate his involvement in violent protests that started after his cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, was abducted and burned alive last week in Jerusalem.
Tariq’s aunt, Sanah Abu Khdeir, of Tampa, said Sunday she hopes that the boy and his parents will be home by July 16. Tariq is an American citizen of Palestinian descent.
Sanah Abu Khdeir was quick to add that her family’s ordeal is not over.
“This is (treatment) that Palestinians receive every day,” said Khdeir, who visits the region twice a year. “It’s outrageous that a victim gets (put in jail) while those who beat him walk free. That’s what really hurts. It’s a slap in the face.”
Tariq is a rising sophomore at Universal Academy of Florida, a private Islamic school on Orient Road.
Tariq’s parents, also in Jerusalem, say their son was beaten Thursday by Israeli police during clashes over the killing of Tariq’s cousin. The beating was captured on video and quickly circulated around the world via news media and YouTube.
“I was attacked by police. I woke up in the hospital,” Tariq told CNN as he walked out of court in Jerusalem on Sunday.
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