With a broken heart, Wadha Abu Khdeir puzzles over what happened to her goofy, smiling first cousin half a world away in Jerusalem.
“He was taken. Eventually, found his body badly beaten, stabbed and burned,” Abu Khdeir said.
The Palestinian teen was outside of his own home in Shuafat Tuesday, waiting for the call to prayer on the fifth morning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
That’s when he was kidnapped by Israeli vigilantes.
“I can’t even imagine what his last hours were and it’s killing my family,” Abu Khdeir’s brother, Belal, said Thursday.
Mohammad’s murder is thought to be in retaliation for the deaths of three Israeli teens recently found shot to death in the West Bank.
His Sacramento relatives, 30 cousins among them, are also dealing with the beating of another loved one by Israelis.
They place blame right at the top of Israel’s government, with calls for revenge by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
At an interfaith gathering at the Salam mosque in support of Mohammad and his grieving relatives, the focus was on the need for healing between Israel and Palestine.
David Mendal from ‘Jewish Voices for Peace’ shared that no child, the Israeli teens or Mohammad should be sacrificed in this way.
He called for an end to the violence.
Mohammad’s family would have followed Muslim tradition and buried him immediately after DNA tests identified his burned body, but his parents say Israeli police presented them with another insult.
“They wanted them to say that it was a family dispute gone wrong, and only when they signed that affidavit would they get his body back,” Abu Khdeir.
Many of those gathered at Salam want to know when being human will be enough to be treated with respect, no matter where you live.
“Human rights are supposed to go to the defense of that innocent child. It’s supposed to be there for the innocent people, right?” questioned Habibah Nawabi of Sacramento.
There will be a protest July 7 in front of the federal building in Sacramento, calling for an end to Israeli violence against Palestinians.