Occupation: Worker
Age: 17

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Islam Rafat Zainham

Islam was born in Dar es-Salaam, one Cairo’s poorest and crowded neighbourhoods. He was the eldest brother of Israش and Yousef. He did well in school as a young kid, but Islam decided to drop out when he was in the third grade. He attended vocational training school to help out in supporting his family.

On the “Day of Rage/Friday of Anger”, Islam told his parents that he would go down to Tahrir Square. They did not stop him. He stopped by one of his neighbors on his way but did not find him, so he went to his friend Hussein’s and they went together to Al-Qasr Al-Aini Street. When they reached Al-Qasr Al-Aini Street’s nearest point to Tahrir Square they found the police firing tear gas and bullets to prevent protesters from going to the Square. The demonstrators were pushed back with Islam at the front lines. A diplomatic car (later found to belong to the US Embassy) ran over Islam and left him for dead all within a few seconds. Several demonstrators were also wounded.

At the very same time in Islam’s house, his brother Yousef came to his parents to inform them that Islam had been killed. His mother got angry and his father decided to go out searching for Islam. He went to his friend Hussein’s house to ask about his son, Hussein didn’t know anything about Islam’s whereabouts. His father returned to the house empty handed and it didn’t take long before someone came to inform his parents that their son was dead. Islam’s father went to the hospital in Munira and found his son lying there with his fractured skull.

The American Embassy in Cairo issued a statement that the car that ran over Islam was stolen along with 12 other cars during the revolution. Some newspapers published that the driver of the stolen American Embassy car was Ismail El Shaer, former Cairo security chief. Eyewitnesses accounts also believe that the driver was Isma’il al-Sha’er, who disappeared a month after these testimonies. However, investigations have not found sufficient evidence to prove this.