Local Family Mourns Death of Palestinian Teenager - myfoxcarolinas.com

Local Family Mourns Death of Palestinian Teenager

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To some, the violence in Gaza seems a world away, but to one family here in Charlotte it is hitting far too close to home.

Issam al-Araj and his family live in Charlotte, but his siblings and their children live in Palestine. His nephew, Mohammad al-Araj was shot and killed on July 24 -- his 17th birthday --  during a demonstration north of Jerusalem.

Mohammed was protesting with thousands of others on the last day of Ramadan. They wanted the right to enter Jerusalem to pray at the al-Aqsa mosque on what is considered the holiest day of the year.

"Five minutes after the demonstration got there, they announced that... somebody was shot and he is in critical condition," Issam said. He said he was sitting in his living room with his children when they received the news. He said his whole family screamed and cried.

"There are people that you meet that leave an everlasting impression and he was that one," said family friend Kamal Neyfeh.

Issam remembers "...he was always funny, full of life. A boy. He's just like any normal guy. He says the impact of his nephew's death extends far beyond the family. "If you talk to any Palestinians in the United States, in Europe, anywhere in the world.we are sad. We are frustrated, we are losing faith in the whole international world."


Issam al-Araj


The al-Araj family is full of sadness, but not overcome.

"We're all really proud of him. For standing up for what he believed inand for what we all believed in," his young cousin Iman said.

Issam says he speaks with him family in Palestine every day. He says he hopes sharing his story will push people all over the world to open their eyes to the deadly violence in the place his family has, and always will, call home.

 

 

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