Apr 18, 2022 14:24 UTC
  • Report: Muslim students in US face high levels of Islamophobic bullying

Islamophobia has turned into a pressing problem in American public schools with Muslim students subjected to relentless harassment and bullying, a new report has revealed.

The report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says hundreds of Muslim students enrolled in schools in the US state of California faced high levels of Islamophobic bullying and discrimination by their peers and adult staff, teachers included.

“Muslim students of all ages have been ostracized and mistreated in the past because of their faith and perceived, yet clearly false, association with 9/11 and other acts of terrorism,” Amr Shabaik, a civil rights managing attorney for CAIR’s California chapter, which conducted the study, was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.

“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,” he hastened to add.

More than half of the 700 students interviewed for the study [55.73 percent] said they felt unsafe, unwelcome, or uncomfortable at school owing to their Muslim identity.

This year’s study has revealed the highest level of Islamophobia in government-run schools in the US since CAIR-California began surveying in 2013.

“People have verbally abused me for being Muslim,” a young woman, 18, from Redwood City is quoted as saying in the survey report. “(They) mocked me and Islam and I have had my hijab pulled off by a classmate for no reason.”

“A 16-year-old female public school student from Orange County reported that her ‘teacher attacked [her] in front of [her] class’,” said Shabaik. “Saying things like ‘terrorist’ and ‘you don’t belong here'.”

Zahra Jamal, a professor at Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance in Houston, Texas, was quoted as saying that the CAIR report findings were consistent with a nationwide poll taken in 2020 that found 51 percent of Muslim students in kindergarten through 12th-grade public schools confronting religious bullying.