On Tuesday, friends and family of the Universal Academy of Florida student stuck in Israel took to social media posting pictures with the hashtag "Bring Tariq home."
"Tariq is just your average, regular Tampa high school student," the family's attorney Hassan Shibly, the executive director of CAIR Florida said. "He likes to take selfies, play basketball, go fishing. He's not used to being in a conflict zone."
Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, is currently being held under house arrest in Israel after an alleged brutal beating by Israel police.
"Right now, the family is just concerned about getting back to Tampa, Fla., as soon as possible so Tariq can get the medical treatment that he needs," Shibly said.
Khdeir is reportedly still suffering from headaches as a result of an attack Shibly says the teen did nothing to cause. The family has maintained he was merely observing a protest on behalf of his cousin, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped and burned to death in what is widely believed to have been a revenge killing for the murders of three Israeli teens in the West Bank last month.
Tariq was in Jerusalem visiting family with his parents and sisters on his summer vacation.
"Tariq was not engaged in any sort of violent acts," said Shibly. "He was on his family's own land when he was brutally attacked by those police officers."
However, a spokesman for the Israeli police tells a different story. They say Tariq was no innocent bystander, but instead part of a masked group armed with knives.
"What I can confirm in that specific incident is he was one of the six people, masked Palestinians that was arrested. Three of the masked Palestinians were knifed. We know that he was wearing a kafia, which is the Muslim headdress, which is used to -- as far as the Palestians are concerned -- to try and not show their identity. The arrest should have been made fast and quickly, and what took place after that is obviously something that is being examined by the justice ministry. But let's not forget that we have to ask ourselves another question which is why was there an American Florida student -- how did he find himself in east Jerusalem breaking the law, throwing Molotov cocktails -- petrol bombs -- at police officers and finding himself in that type of situation?" Israeli police national spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Shibly, on behalf of the Abu Khdeirs, called the statements unfounded and ridiculous.
"It almost sounds like some Israelis want to say that it's justifiable to brutally beat a 15-year-old kid," said Shibly. "Is that really the kind of country Israel is saying it is?"
CAIR is currently circulating a petition on Tariq's behalf. Their hope is to bring him home within the next couple of weeks.