(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/16/17) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed disciplinary action against a Virginia teacher who allegedly pulled off a Muslim student’s Islamic head scarf, or hijab.
CAIR said the student at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Va., reported online that the teacher came up behind her, pulled off her hijab and reportedly said, “Oh your hair is so pretty.”
In a statement responding to the incident, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) said:
“The teacher’s action was inappropriate and unacceptable. The school administration has apologized to the student and her family for the incident. FCPS takes this incident seriously and, while a thorough investigation of the incident is conducted, the teacher has been placed on leave.”
“We welcome the decision to place the teacher on leave and to apologize to the student and her family, but further disciplinary action needs to be taken based on the results of the investigation into this disturbing incident,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “No student should be bullied or attacked because of his or her faith. Teachers must protect students, not subject them to harassment or intimidation.”
Awad urged students of all faiths and backgrounds in Virginia and nationwide to report any incidents of bullying or harassment and to speak out when their educational environment is negatively impacted by bigotry.
Last week, CAIR called for a criminal investigation and the firing of a teacher at a Tennessee charter school after a video was circulated online of a Muslim student having her Islamic head scarf, or hijab, forcibly removed in a classroom.
As in the Tennessee case, The Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization is also calling for diversity training for all school staff using CAIR’s “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” which is designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.
A recent report by CAIR’s California office revealed that Muslim students are bullied at twice the rate as the national average.
CAIR said it has witnessed an unprecedented increase in hate incidents targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump.
The Washington-based civil rights and advocacy organization urges community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/report
CAIR recently launched an app to share critical “know your rights” information and to simplify the process to report hate crimes and bias incidents. CAIR is urging American Muslims and members of other minority groups to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.
For a quick download of CAIR’s civil rights app, click here: http://www.cair.com/app
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, fomentar el diÃ¡logo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org