The Launch of ‘Hearts Over Hate Foundation’ after Dentist’s Tragic Death

In a tragic incident that has gripped the community of El Cajon, the life of Dr. Benjamin Harouni, a 28-year-old dentist, was cut short last month when an alleged gunman, identified as Mohammed Abdulkareem, entered Smile Plus Dentistry on North Magnolia Avenue and fatally shot him. The attack, which also left two others injured, has left a family in mourning and a community in shock.

Despite the grief that has enveloped them, the Harouni family is channeling their sorrow into a force for good. In an effort to transform their pain into hope, Jake Harouni, the youngest of the three sons and brother to the late Dr. Harouni, is spearheading the creation of the “Hearts Over Hate Foundation.” This initiative seeks not only to honor the memory of a man known for his compassion and kindness but also to serve as a beacon of tolerance and understanding in times of division.

The loss of Dr. Harouni, described by his brother Jake as “unimaginable,” has been particularly challenging for a family struggling to comprehend how an act of such hatred could claim someone “so loving and so pure.” The fact that the alleged shooter was a former patient of the dentist, who hadn’t received treatment in over a year, only adds to their bewilderment and grief.

While the El Cajon police have stated that they do not believe the killing was motivated by racial or political reasons, the Harouni family awaits a full understanding of the events that led to Ben’s death. Amidst their search for answers, they place their trust in the ongoing legal process, hoping for justice for Ben while also advocating for a future marked by greater tolerance and understanding.

Jake Harouni’s vision for the Hearts Over Hate Foundation includes educational initiatives aimed at teaching tolerance and empathy, particularly among the youth. Recognizing that not all families have access to adequate support systems during times of loss, the foundation also aims to provide assistance to those navigating the difficult journey of grief.

As the Harouni family continues to grapple with their loss, with Smile Plus Dentistry remaining closed since the tragic incident, Jake finds solace in the conviction that leading with love and compassion is the path forward. With Mohammed Abdulkareem currently held without bond and his next court appearance scheduled for May, the community watches on, hoping for justice and healing in the aftermath of this senseless act of violence.

Through the establishment of the Hearts Over Hate Foundation, Jake Harouni and his family aspire to create a legacy of love and tolerance in memory of Dr Benjamin Harouni, whose life, though tragically cut short, continues to inspire a message of hope and unity.

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