An Islamic advocacy group is seeking an investigation into a series of alleged anti-Muslim incidents at a Blaine middle school, in which two girls say they’ve been taunted and had food thrown at them for wearing headscarves.

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations alleges that the staff at Westwood Middle School has under-reacted to complaints from two families that their daughters were being bullied for being Muslim.

The group made the claims Thursday in letters to Spring Lake Park school district administrators and the media.

“I wish these were isolated incidents, but they’re not,” said Lori Saroya, chairwoman of the newly formed Minnesota chapter. “And most of the time, they’re not even reported.”

Saroya said the parents of two Blaine girls called the group April 20 after an alleged incident in the lunchroom resulted in a Muslim girl being disciplined by an assistant principal who the girl said chastised her using the Quran.

Don Helmstetter, Spring Lake Park district superintendent, said Thursday’s letter was the first he’d heard of the incidents. He opened an investigation immediately.

“All of us as parents need to feel a sense of security and justice and a sense of due process if we think something is happening to our child,” he said. “Clearly these parents didn’t feel that, and that’s our shame. We need to work on that.”

The parents of the girls could not be reached for comment.

The first alleged incident occurred Sept. 11, 2006, the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Saroya said. An eighth-grade boy approached a 13-year-old eighth-grade Muslim girl in the halls and called her a terrorist.


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