Sacramento family of slain Palestinian teen demands justice

A Sacramento family is demanding justice for the murder of Palestinian teen.

International outrage has grown over the abduction and murder of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdair. His burned body was found in a wooded area just outside of Jerusalem. The boy's family feels he was the innocent target of retaliation.

"It wasn't fair. It had nothing to do with him. None of this had anything to do with him," Muhammad's cousin Balal Abu Khdair said as he fought back tears remembering a time spent with the teen last year.

Muhammad was kidnapped from his village outside of Jerusalem. His body was found badly burned on Wednesday.

MORE: Sacramento family of teen killed in Palestine talks about the tragedy

"This wasn't an adult who made adult decisions," Abu Khdair said. "This is a child still talking about video games."

Abu Khdair's family owns Billy's Market and Deli in downtown Sacramento. They moved to the area to escape the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict that has taken so many lives. They believe Muhammad's killing was a retaliatory act for the deaths of three Israeli teens whose bodies were found Monday in the West Bank.

"He was at the wrong place at the wrong time," Abu Khdair said.

Family said Muhammad was heading to a mosque for Ramadan morning services when three men pulled up in a car and kidnapped him. His body has not been returned to the family.

For now, the family is demanding justice, but also praying for peace.

"I don't want retaliation. I don't. That's not going to make anybody grow," Abu Khdair said. "You have two cultures. You have to live in the same land, they have to live in peace."


A special interfaith vigil was held Thursday night for Muhammad at the SALAM Islamic Center. Dozens of relatives, friends and community members -- including Muslims and Jews -- attended the vigil. They came and offered their condolences.

"As with everyone else, I'm here to mourn and express my horror and deepest condolences for the family of Mohammed," Jewish Voice for Peace spokesperson David Mandel said.

Relatives shared with attendees that Mohammed was a sweet kid, always laughing, goofing around and always on his iphone playing games. They said the 16-year-old teen did not deserve to be the target of such violence.

"We pray for peace in this month of Ramadan, this month of mercy," Council on American Islamic Relations Executive Director Basim Elkarra said. "We hope that peace comes to that part of the world."


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment