On bullying of American Muslim school kids

Are you part of the 9/11 or are you ISIS?” “Did you ever kill anyone?” “Are you going to bomb this place?” These are some typical questions that 12-year-old Abdu Rrahman Mohamed says he’s been asked by his non-Muslim classmates week after week in his Long Beach, California, school, he told youth radio VoiceWaves.org last week.

Earlier this year, a high school teacher in Richmond, Texas, sent all his students home with a new study guide he had created, with the title, “Islam/Radical Islam (Did You Know).” In the study guide, which had not been approved by the school, the economics teacher presented fictional statements as if they were facts, including, “38% of Muslims believe people that leave the faith should be executed.” The teacher also wrote up instructions for what to do “if taken hostage by radical Islamists.”

In Weston, Florida, a high school French teacher allegedly called one 14-year-old Muslim student a “rag-head Taliban” in February. The student’s father, Youssef Wardani, a software engineer and an immigrant from Lebanon, said his son, an honor roll student, now hates going to school.

These are not isolated incidents. The federal government, leaders of Muslim organizations, many Muslim students, and parents report an increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric and abuses in classrooms.

Last week, during an event hosted by the nonprofit organization Muslim Advocates, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch expressed concerns about what she sees as an uptick in anti-Muslim incidents in schools. The Department of Justice has partnered with the Department of Education to advise schools on anti-bullying measures. Lynch added that the DOJ is investigating MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas; the school in September called the police and suspended 14-year-old Ahmed Muhammad when he brought a clock he had made to school, to show it to his engineering teacher. School administrators assumed it was a bomb.

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