CAIR-MN SEEKS PROBE OF ANTI-MUSLIM INCIDENTS AT SCHOOL
(ST. PAUL, MN, 5/3/07) – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) announced today that it is seeking an investigation of a series of reported anti-Muslim incidents at a middle school in that state.
CAIR-MN said it received complaints about Islamophobic remarks and actions by students and staff at Westwood Middle School in Blaine, Minn.
The reported incidents include:
* A Muslim student who wears an Islamic head scarf was called a “terrorist” by another student. The student who made the offensive remark reportedly did not face serious disciplinary action. The Muslim student says she continued to be taunted and harassed by her peers due to her religious affiliation. She was allegedly told “go back to your country,” “the Quran is full of lies,” and “Muslims are terrorists.” The student says she reported these incidents to her school counselor, but no remedial action was taken.
* Two Muslim students allege that they were verbally taunted about their religion and had food thrown at them. After one Muslim student had milk poured on her, a confrontation ensued. The student who had allegedly harassed the Muslim students and instigated the confrontation was not disciplined. Instead, one of the Muslim students was sent to the office and reprimanded for her role in the incident. While being reprimanded for the lunchroom confrontation, an assistant principal reportedly made inappropriate statements referring to the Muslim student’s faith.
In a letter to Westwood Middle School Principal Paula Hoff, CAIR-MN Chairwoman Lori Saroya wrote:
“I encourage you to investigate this matter further and take appropriate action. I ask that sensitivity training be provided for your staff and students to create an atmosphere where diversity can be respected, not feared.”
Saroya also requested a meeting with Hoff to discuss the incidents and the school’s response to them. A copy of the letter was sent to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Don Helmstetter.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.
CONTACT: CAIR-MN Chairwoman Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com