A Shia Muslim little boy, while on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Medina with his mother, has been barbarously killed for unknown reasons, fueling speculations that he could have been a sectarian and hate crime victim.
According to what circulated on social media, Zakariya Bader al-Jabir — said to be six or seven years old — was savagely murdered by a taxi driver in front of his mother late last month.
The New Arab website says his mother’s recitation of salutations for the Prophet (SAWA) and his family (Ahlul Bayt) outraged the taxi driver who, according to “witnesses”, broke the window of his car, before grabbing the “seven-year-old” boy by the back of his shirt and slitting his throat in front of his mother.
The Muslim Vibe website’s account is also similar to that of the New Arab. It says the mother and the child had taken a taxi on their way to al-Masjid al-Nabawi Mosque in the middle of the day,
“The taxi driver then broke a glass bottle to obtain a shard of glass, which he then used to cut the throat of the child and stab him,” the report said.
The Muslim Vibe has quoted onlookers as saying a policeman who happened to be stationed nearby had also attempted to stop the man from attacking the child but was unsuccessful in saving the boy. The policeman restrained the man until police backup was called.
But there is no concrete evidence of any of this; the boy was killed, but the motivation behind the attack remains unknown, and no details of the alleged killer have emerged.
A human rights NGO, Shia Rights Watch, narrates the story of the “six-year-old” boy in another way:
“The mother and her son took cab to visit the shrine of Prophet Muhammad in Medina. An unknown man approached them and asked the mother if she is Shia when they arrived at the shrine, the woman said yes. Minutes after this conversation a car stopped by the woman and pulled the child away from her and attacked him with a broken piece of glass,” the report said, quoting activists as saying.