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US Muslim students face high levels of Islamophobic bullying – report

29th Apr 2022

Hamed Chapman

Islamophobia in US public schools is a prevalent and ongoing problem, according to a recent report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Interviews with 700 Muslim students in schools in the state of California found high levels of Islamophobic bullying, harassment, and discrimination by peers and adults, including teachers.

“Muslim students of all ages have been ostracised and mistreated in the past because of their faith and perception, yet clearly false, association with 9/11 and other acts of terrorism,” said Amr Shabaik, managing the civil rights attorney for CAIR’s California chapter, which conducted the study.

“Often, such events manifest in the form of bullying by other students, lack of preventative and reporting measures by school officials, and insufficient training for educators as to how to mediate or de-escalate religious, racial, and ethnically-charged bullying,” Shabaik told Anadolu Agency.

The report said nearly half of the students, 47.1 per cent, reported being bullied for being Muslim. That is more than twice the reported national average of 20 per cent.

“I was constantly called Osama bin Laden by the same guy who would tell me that I looked like Bomb with a big emphasis on the word bomb,” said an 18-year-old female student from Brentwood who was interviewed for the survey, referring to the ringleader behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

More than half of com reported, 55.73 per cent reported feeling unsafe, unwell, or uncomfortable due to their Muslim identity, the highest level since CAIR-California began surveying in 2013.

The report documents that nearly one in three students, 30.12 per cent, who wear the hijab or headscarf reported it was tugged, pulled, or offensively touched.“People have verbally abused me for being Muslim,” a young woman, 18, from Redwood City told the survey. “(They) mocked me and Islam, and I have had my hijab pulled off by a classmate for no reason.”

The report also found approximately one-third of students experienced or witnessed some form of cyberbullying.

One of the more disturbing findings indicates that nearly one in four, 23.50 per cent, reported that a teacher, administrator, or other adults at their school made offensive comments about Islam or Muslims.

“A 16-year-old female public school student from Orange County reported that her ‘teacher attacked [her] in front of [her] class’,” said.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

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