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CAIR, ACLU Ask West Virginia High School to Probe Repeated Harassment of Muslim Student

CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/1/17) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today joined the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia (ACLU-WV) in requesting an investigation of the alleged repeated harassment targeting a Muslim student in West Virginia because of his ethnicity and religion.

CAIR and the ACLU-WV submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding treatment of the Muslim senior at Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, W. Va., who has allegedly been repeatedly harassed on school grounds.

Earlier this month, a group of students allegedly called the Muslim student a “suicide bomber” and chanted the words “Allahu Akbar” (the Islamic phrase “God is Great”) at him. When the Muslim student confronted his harassers, a scuffle ensued. The Muslim student received a two-day suspension because of this event, the same as the students who were harassing him.

Last week, the Muslim student was again allegedly harassed on school grounds. Another group of students reportedly yelled racial and religious slurs at him as he was leaving campus. The Muslim student and his cousin were also allegedly called “terrorists” by a teacher during last year’s Model United Nations.

“School districts and their staff and other agents have obligations under federal law, state law, and district policies to prevent and protect against bullying, intimidation, or harassment. Under all of these laws, a district’s indifference to bullying, intimidation, or harassment taking place in its schools or among its students can expose the district and its officials and employees to liability,” said Jamie Lynn Crofts Legal Director, ACLU-WV.

CAIR also joined the ACLU-WV in sending letters to school superintendents in the state offering resources helpful in challenging bullying, intimidation and harassment, as well as restorative practices to handle other minor incidents in the light in the spike of hate crimes targeting Muslims.

A 2013 CAIR report documenting bias-based bullying of American Muslim students in California schools revealed that almost half of Muslim students said they had been subjected to some form of bias-based bullying.

To read the full 2013 report, go to: Growing in Faith

The Washington-based civil rights organization offers a booklet, called “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.

SEE: An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 248-390-9784, lmasri@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; ACLU of WV  

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