Syrian refugee teen hospitalised after US school assault

28th Dec 2018
Syrian refugee teen hospitalised  after US school assault

(Screen-grab: Alexis Work/Facebook)

Aqila Mumthaz

Criminal charges are pending after a Muslim teen refugee girl was beaten up by another student at her high school bathroom on December 17. The attack was so brutal she required overnight treatment at a hospital for a concussion.

 

The attack took place inside Chartiers Valley High School located just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Footage of the fight inside the school bathroom went viral when Alexis Work posted the video on her Facebook.

In the video, the hijab-wearing teen comes out of the bathroom stall and is confronted by a blonde girl in a purple shirt who was trying to use the stall to smoke an electronic cigarette.

The altercation turned violent when the attacker then pushed the Syrian refugee. After trying to fight back, hijabi teen is pushed to the ground by the blonde girl and is repeatedly punched in the head.

In the video, the blond girl tells the teen refugee: “You’re lucky you’re from another language because I will crush you,” then pushes her and punches her. The refugee girl yells, “I’m not punching you, you punched me first.” The blond girl continues attacking her, even after she falls to the floor and screams, “Leave me alone!”

The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organisation in the US, demanded that Federal authorities investigate the matter as a hate crime. The group is helping the victim’s family with legal support.

“After this video, she was beaten up some more, and she had to go to go to the hospital,” Zohra Lasania, program director at CAIR-Pittsburg told Anadolu Agency.

Lasania said the teen is now home recovering from her injuries. Her family fled Syria and spent two years in a refugee camp before being granted entry to the US

“They were fleeing anarchy, violence, and the complete breakdown of the social system, a governing system so they came to a civilized place and we all assured them this is the most civilized place in the world,” Safdar Khwaja, President of CAIR-Pittsburg, told local media. “To see this kind of violence take place, it’s very disappointing.”

Police are investigating the incident but a law enforcement official said the incident does not appear to be religiously or racially motivated. Collier Township police have said that they don’t think the incident was a hate crime, something that Khwaja disagrees with.

“We don’t believe the motive was random and was at the spur of the moment, we believe there was a bias,” he said.According to a high school senior Alexis Work, who posted the video, the blond girl wanted to use the bathroom stall to vape but was told she wasn’t allowed to by the Muslim girl, which angered her and led her to attack the refugee girl.

A statement from the school district to Tribune-Review news partner WPXI-TV said the district “does not condone or tolerate violence of any kind,” and officials will “enforce consequences.”

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