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The New Arab Staff

Father of police shooting victim Jacob Blake recites Quran in moving video

Date of publication: 26 August, 2020

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A clip of the father of Wisconsin man Jacob Blake reciting part of the Quran has gone viral.





A video clip of the father of Jacob Blake reciting a prayer from the Quran has prompted a wave of support.

Jacob Blake's son, also called Jacob Blake, was left paralysed after he was shot seven times by US police officers in Wisconsin.

During the conference his father read the Surah Al-Fatiha, the first chapter of the Quran, for his son.

The surah is an integral part of the Islamic faith and one of the most prominent chapters in the holy book, recited by Muslims in a variety of situations.

It is unclear if Jacob Black's father identifies as a Muslim, but during his speech he acknowledged his family's diversity.

"My family is very diverse, and we don’t represent just one thing," Jacob Blake's father said just before reciting the Quran.

Blake's father spoke alongside other family members and lawyers, telling reporters that police shot his son "seven times, seven times, like he didn't matter".

"But my son matters. He's a human being and he matters," he said.

Blake Sr.'s speech came just days after the shooting of his son that led Muslim organisations to issue a joint statement condemning the incident.

"Yet again, police officers committed horrifying, infuriating violence against a Black person. Our hearts go out to Jacob Blake, who we hope survives this shooting," the statement said.

Blake's mother, Julia Jackson, said the first thing her son said when she saw him was that he was sorry.

"He said, 'I don't want to be a burden on you guys,'" Jackson said. "'I want to be with my children, and I don't think I'll walk again.'"

Anti-racism protests erupt in the region

Jacob Blake's attorney said it would "take a miracle" for him to walk again, while calling for the officer who opened fire on the man to be arrested and others involved in the incident to lose their jobs.

The shooting of Blake on Sunday in Kenosha - apparently in the back while three of his children looked on - was captured on a phone video and ignited new protests over racial injustice in several cities.

It comes just three months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police touched off a wider reckoning on race.

Some demonstrations devolved into unrest, including for a third night in Kenosha, where multiple gunshots could be heard in social media posts from at least one neighbourhood.

Residents and people could be seen carrying firearms and remained on the streets hours after the city's 8pm curfew began.

Two people were shot to death during a night of anti-racism protests in Kenosha in a possible vigilante attack carried out apparently by a young white man who was caught on a phone camera opening fire in the middle of the street with a semi-automatic rifle.

The gunfire erupted late Tuesday, just before midnight, during the third straight night of unrest.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers had called for calm Tuesday, while also declaring a state of emergency under which he doubled the National Guard deployment in Kenosha from 125 to 250. The night before crowds destroyed dozens of buildings and set more than 30 fires in the city's downtown.

"We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue," said Evers, who is facing mounting pressure from Republicans over his handling of the unrest. "We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction."

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