Palestinian students beaten up at Guilford College

Posted on January 24, 2007



On Monday, Jan 22, 2007, three Guilford College students, Michael Bates, Michael Robert Six, and Christopher Barnette, were arrested in connection with a group assault that occurred on campus, according to court documents.

Police said Faris Khadar, Osama Sabbah and Omar Awartani (2 Muslim and 1 Christian Palestinian students) were victims of this attack. Khadar and Sabbah are Guilford College students. Awartani is an N.C. State student who was visiting friends.

The documents, which were reviewed late Monday, said three persons were arrested and are accused of beating the three Palestinian students with fists, feet and brass knuckles while calling them “terrorists” and using racial slurs. The documents also indicated that the attack involved “at least 15 members of the football team.”

The court documents said two of the Palestinian students were severely injured during the assault at Bryan Hall, a dormitory on the Guilford campus.

Court documents said the attack occurred late Friday, while a statement on the Guilford College Web site indicated it happened early Saturday morning. […]

“It was the most horrific experience of my life,” said Omar Awartani, one of the students attacked, in a Tuesday phone interview. “This was a horrible, unprovoked hate crime.” Awartani was back at N.C. State Tuesday, where he was attempting to resume a class schedule. He said he was diagnosed with a concussion and had trouble walking on his own for several days after the attack. Even now, he said, his injuries have left him unable to concentrate without prescription pain killers.

“These people who beat me I had never seen before in my life,” said Awartani. “They just began insulting us,” he said, adding that they were being called “dirty,” “terrorists” and a racial epithet. “We tried not to fight them, we did not insult them back, but they beat the hell out of us.”

Bates, Six and Barnette are members of the Guilford College football team. […] Bates and Six were charged with three counts of assault and battery each. Barnette was charged with two counts of assault and battery. All three were charged with ethnic intimidation, and were released Monday on $2,000 bond. [more]

The three football players

Please click here to hear the audio of a statement by Aaron Fetrow, dean for campus life at Guilford College.

Please click here to read whole article.

Please click here to read Guilford College’s update on this event.

Latest news: Feb 12, 2007–Follow up interview of CAIR Representative on Al-Jazeera about this incident.

This is not the first case of brutality against Muslim students specifically. Please read about another incident where a UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) student, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, was repeatedly tazed by University Police , and the lawsuit he has since filed. The video of the student being tazed (receiving several electric shocks from a handheld tazer) can be seen here below. It is important to note that this incident is still under investigation.