Why are Muslim schoolgirls still getting bullied?

CA-anti-bullyingAccording to a December study conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), approximately 50 percent of all Muslim school kids in California face bullying based on their faith.

By Joseph Mayton, Mint Press News

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- When Salma talks about the frustration she experiences at school, her voice cracks. She says it is anger. Her parents believe it is the emotional trauma of bullying. The 16-year-old high school junior has faced numerous verbal and physical assaults in the past few years, all because she is Muslim, her mother Dina admits.

"It is time for a change in how our young people, especially our daughters, are treated," said Dina, an Egyptian-American who described herself as a housewife. "I think what is happening is a real problem and many of our girls in our community are facing traumas daily because nobody does anything."

According to a December study conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), approximately 50 percent of all Muslim school kids in California face bullying based on their faith.

Since entering high school in the San Francisco Bay Area two years ago, Salma and her friends have reportedly faced a mounting number of bullying incidents. Salma revealed that when she thought of going out for the volleyball team, a couple of the other girls verbally assaulted her, forcing her to let go of the idea at the time.

"The other girls, on the first day of tryouts, kept asking me which bomb I would use to blow up the building, if I was a 'Bin Laden whore' and 'do all Muslim women like to be beat up by men.' It was horrible and I couldn't take it, so I just play on a team outside of school with mostly Muslim girls," Salma said.

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The report, "Growing in Faith: California Muslim Youth Experiences with Bullying, Harassment and Religious Accommodation in Schools," reveals that nearly half of Muslim students say they have been subjected to some form of bias-based bullying. The findings are based on a statewide survey of almost 500 Muslim students, ages 11 to 18.They were asked questions about their relationships with peers and teachers, as well as their comfort levels participating in discussions about Islam and Muslims.

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"Being called 'terrorist' or 'Bin laden' is still a reality for many American Muslim students," said CAIR Los Angeles Civil Rights Manager Fatima Dadabhoy. "Throughout the course of this study, we were alarmed to find that many Muslim students didn't even deem this as a form of bullying. Through this report, we hope to show that a decision to dismiss mistreatment as a natural consequence of being Muslim in America, or simply part of growing up, is unacceptable and normalizes a toxic school environment." (Read the whole article)