Washington, D.C. Based Muslim Civil Rights Group Urges Meaningful Policy Changes, Restorative Measures
(BALTIMORE, MD, 11/29/21) – The Maryland office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned and called for a thorough investigation into an alleged hate crime against a 6th grade Muslim student at Franklin Middle School in Reisterstown, Md., that reportedly occurred on Friday, Nov. 19.
The family tells CAIR that the Muslim student was allegedly assaulted by an unknown person wearing a full-face mask, believed to be a peer, who approached her in the school’s hallway in an intimidating manner. The alleged assailant reportedly aggressively grabbed the Muslim student’s pinned hijab, or Islamic headscarf, and attempted to pull it off her head.
The mother reported to CAIR the student was distressed and told a staff member who then walked her to the principal’s office. The vice principal reportedly went with the student to the scene of the incident and assured her he would look into it.
CAIR says school administrators failed to notify the Muslim student’s parents, who say they learned of the alleged hate crime from their daughter. The family reports to CAIR that the school did not contact the mother until several days later, and only after CAIR had contacted higher level officials within the school system. The student’s mother tells CAIR that her daughter has not returned to school since the incident.
“I put my trust in the school by sending my daughter, and that trust was broken,” said the mother of the impacted student to CAIR. ”I want every child to feel safe including mine. My family is still processing this ordeal. It was heartening to have the school’s vice principal assure me during our conversation yesterday that he’s dedicating his attention to this incident. Franklin Middle School has the opportunity now to be a role model and set the example for other schools by making changes so this never happens again.”
In a statement, CAIR’s Maryland Director Zainab Chaudry said:
“We condemn this alleged assault and call on school officials to investigate and determine the identity of the attacker so restorative measures can be taken for justice and healing for the student whose rights were reportedly violated. We applaud the courage of this student and her family in speaking up and calling attention to an issue that’s often unreported.
“Our office urges systemwide written policy changes that require school officials to immediately notify parents or guardians of alleged hate crimes or bias motivated incidents involving their child, regardless of the status of the investigation.
“We urge the school system to train its staff and administrators on how to effectively respond to such incidents and to also hold a school wide assembly educating the student body on the serious nature and consequences of hate crimes and bullying.”
She noted that CAIR 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.
CAIR also holds free cultural and religious diversity trainings on Islam and Muslims, and is offering to schedule a training for the school’s teachers and administrative staff. It’s also coordinating additional resources and support for the Muslim student.
Earlier this month, CAIR issued a campus safety advisory and coordinated a self-defense training after a Muslim student’s hijab was reportedly pulled off by a stranger at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).
SEE: CAIR Issues Maryland UMBC Campus Safety Advisory, Plans Self-Defense Training After Alleged Assault on Muslim Student
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR Office in Maryland Director Zainab Chaudry, 410-971-6062, email@example.com