Palestinian-American Oday Aboushi drafted to the New York Jets


Offensive lineman Oday Aboushi from the University of Virginia was selected by the New York Jets in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday, making him one of the first Palestinian-Americans to play in the NFL.

Aboushi, a Brooklyn native, performed exceptionally well both as a student and as an offensive and defensive lineman when he attended Xaverian High School. Intent on challenging himself academically, he chose to attend the University of Virginia which is known for its academic reputation. There he played for four years, starting over three dozen games and earning a selection to the first team All-ACC squad. He graduated in the winter with a degree in sociology.

Standing at 6’5” and 310 pounds, Aboushi is known for his ferocity and good blocking instinct on the field. The Jets will hope to utilize him in protecting the pocket.

Aboushi comes from an arguably unique background. He is the ninth of ten children born to Palestinian parents who immigrated to New York from their town of Beit Hanina in the occupied West Bank. Aboushi speaks English and Arabic.

He is also a devout Muslim, one of very few in the NFL. During Ramadan, which fell every year during training camp season at Virginia, he fasted from sunrise to sunset every day. He was one of almost a dozen Muslim athletes honored by the U.S. Department of State for his contributions in 2011.

Aboushi is widely regarded as one of the top offensive tackle draft picks in this year’s NFL Draft.

Aboushi tweets here.

Other NFL players with Palestinian backgrounds include Nader Abdallah, who signed with the Baltimore Ravens, and Gibran Hamdan, who was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 2003. Hamdan, who retired in 2010, is half Pakistani and half Palestinian. Tarek Saleh is also identified as a former NFL player of Palestinian descent, having played for both the Carolina Panthers and the Cleveland Browns before retiring.

Editor’s note: Special thanks to everyone involved in gathering information on Palestinian-Americans in the NFL.

There are 46 comments

  1. Nedal Ashkar

    Mashallah. You did it you have accomplished , what many americans and arabians dream of. Congratulations to you and your family

  2. Mohammad Abboushi

    Odey a True Hero to Palestine , a Dream Come True for the Sheb (Younger Generation) of Beit Hanina
    And gave the highest Pride to his Family Dar Abboushi Odey is an inspiration to us all especially .
    Inshallah the best to him and his family Mabrook Cuz .

  3. Haroon Mir

    Masha’Allah laquwwata illa billa ! May Allah swt bless you with an even stronger imaan, greater health and success on the field and off the field brother.Ameen !.You certainly set the bar for other practicing American Muslims to follow in your footsteps.

  4. imsabri5

    Proud moment for all Palestinians….Mashallah anak…..Best of Luck and millions of praise for you and your family. Job well done

  5. Ehab Hasan

    Mabrook Oday. Masha’Allah. We are so proud of you. Make your Palestinian-American family hold their heads up high. We’ll keep you in our dua. My boys also play football and they’re already looking up to you add their time model.

  6. ivonne m

    So proud of you Oday. Anytime someone has success it’s a success for everyone. Being a parent of Palestinian American children, you make us proud. Thank you for setting such a positive example for all young men.

  7. yasser ideis

    Mabrook and masha allah oday. I have Always been proud to be a Palestinian but today it makes it. even more special. I have waiting a long time to see a palestinian let alone someone arabic get drafted to the NFL. I am happy for you and your family and much success to you in the NFL. I hope you win as many superboels and go to as many pro bowls as you can.

  8. Anwar Asad

    Congrats my brother-we got the NFL !!!!Baseball and basketball are next.
    My son Shadi will take care of baseball and that leaves basketball .I wish you and all Palestinian people much success.
    Stay healthy , be smart and always work hard…

  9. Yusif Jaber

    Congrats!!! I’m proud to see a fellow Palestinian in the NFL. I will make sure my boys grow up knowing that anything is possible. Inshallah You make it to many pro bowls and Your name becomes a household name for people all over the country. Good Luck and God be with You and protect You in Your career and in life. Wish You were a Bears player though! Go Bears and Go Oday!!

  10. Attala Abboushi

    Congratulation to you and your family i wish you luck see you inshallah from Abboushi family in Cleveland ohio

  11. Jamal Abboushi

    Mabrouck Amee Oday. You and your brothers and sisters made us very proud for abu SALAH and umm SALAH both of you deserve it all for raising your highly successful kids Inshallah abu Amee Ahmad you will stand high for ever Oday Your cousins darr abu fathi especially we alway have full confidence of you getting pick to NFL meet meet aliff Mabrouck Inshallah success for ever go and get to work. Amee Hit them hard and don’t look back keep going

  12. Bob Nesbit

    J – E -T -S Jets! Jets! Jets! Just kidding, I’m a Broncos fan from Denver but I love your success story. Best of luck to you and your family. Let freedom ring in Palestine!

  13. madams12

    as a lifelong Denver Broncos FAN….I gotta say I am so happy to read that the Jets picked Oday…Alf mabrook to Aboushis and all Palestinian brothers and sisters…I know we’ll ALL be pulling for Jets with Oday on the team….mash’Allah…

  14. Mariam abed

    Beit Hanina is not occupied by the west bank, Beit Hanina is part of East Jerusalem, hours away from the West Bank. And congrats, your cousins are my cousins lol

  15. Rich Fountaine

    Congratulations, Oday graduated from a Christian HS that is known for excellent academics. Virginia another academically excellent school. This young man is proof that we are all Americans who can and should overcome religious differences. As a Jets fan welcome aboard and I hope you have a long prosperous career.

  16. Nabil Elshareif


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