Families Urged to Report Incidents of Bullying, Harassment
The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) is asking Southern California Muslim families to become familiar with the growing issue of ‘school bullying’ taking place against Muslim and other children in the nation and report any incidents of bullying or harassment to the CAIR-LA office immediately.
CAIR-LA has received several complaints from students and parents in Southern California of harassment due to religious, ethnic and national origin. Students have reported ongoing verbal harassment, such as being referred to as “terrorist” or “jihadi” as well as girls, who wear the hijab, being physically assaulted.
Additionally, major national cases have recently grabbed everyone’s attention. For example, a 16-year-old Muslim boy from New York’s Markham Intermediate School was allegedly assaulted by four teenagers because of his faith. The victim stated: “They punched me. They tripped me on the floor. They kicked me...and as they were kicking and laughing, they kept saying, ‘you f-ing terrorist, f-ing Muslim.” The teenagers were subsequently arrested on Oct. 12.
SEE: Terrorized for being a Muslim
Similarly, in June, CAIR’s Iowa office reported an incident in which an 18-year-old Iraqi refugee and his mother were assaulted outside the Cedar Rapids’ Tait Cummings Park at a softball game. The victim was allegedly hit in the jaw by a member of the opposing team who shouted slurs such as “raghead,” “terrorist” and “camel jockey” and his mother was allegedly assaulted by the same person when she tried to defend her son.
CAIR has worked to address these cases and similar incidents across the country. Earlier this year, CAIR-LA’s Civil Rights Manager Affad Shaikh participated in a conversation with the US Department of Education regarding bullying and discrimination faced by Muslim and Arab students, as well as how best to address these issues in concurrence with the Obama administration’s education goals.
These cases have identified the need to educate Muslims, Arabs and others on the rights of students in public schools as well as the need for school administrators to diligently address these instances of religious and racial harassment.
1. Share this information with your child, family members, and friends. This holiday break is a good time to educate yourself and your children on the issue of ‘school bullying.’ One great way to understand the challenges students face in school is to have candid discussions that allow for students to freely and safely discuss the issues they face in schools. This can be done with the youth group at your Mosque or with a group of students.
You can also request CAIR to provide a community presentation at your local mosque. Workshops have already been given at area mosques and more are being scheduled. Please contact CAIR-LA Civil
Rights Manager Affad Shaikh to schedule a presentation.
2. REQUEST and READ your children’s school policies and procedures on harassment, bullying and safe school policies and familiarize yourself with the school districts’ complaint process.
3. REQUEST and SHARE a copy of CAIR’s “Educators’ Guide to Islamic Religious Practices” with the school Principal and discuss with teachers and administrators your student’s religious practices at school. Copies of the guide can be requested from CAIR Washington DC office by calling 202-488-8787.
4. REPORT: Students and parents are urged to report any harassment or anti-Muslim incidents in their schools immediately to the school Principal as well as to the CAIR-Greater Los Angeles Area office, even if it’s solely for documentation purposes. Please call 714-776-1847 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.