Press Releases

CAIR-NJ Calls for ‘Appropriate Corrective Measures’ After Teacher Tells Arab Muslim Student ‘We Don’t Negotiate with Terrorists’ 

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 10/22/2021) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed the Ridgefield, N.J., police investigation and called for the Ridgefield Memorial High School to take “appropriate corrective measures” after a teacher at Ridgefield High School allegedly told an Arab Muslim student, “We don’t negotiate with terrorists,” when he asked for more time on his homework. The teacher reportedly later approached the student and allegedly said “I didn’t mean it like that.”  

The incident reportedly occurred on Wednesday morning during first period at Ridgefield Memorial High School where the student is a senior. The student alleges the entire class including another teacher was witness to the incident. 

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said:  

“We are very concerned about these allegations and urge the school district to take appropriate corrective measures following a swift and transparent investigation. This type of insensitive language by an authority figure is unacceptable because it perpetuates stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims.”  

Maksut said CAIR-NJ is offering the Ridgefield school district diversity training for its teachers and staff to help combat Islamophobia and bullying. 

He noted that CAIR-NJ is also dealing with another case involving alleged Islamophobia targeting a Muslim student in that state. 

SEE: New claims made against NJ teacher accused of removing Muslim student’s hijab

CAIR released the document as institutions across the country mark today’s beginning of National Bullying Prevention Month.   

The document provides informative resources that school districts can use to ensure teachers and administrators are equipped with the necessary tools to address Islamophobia in the classroom. The document includes toolkits, reports, articles, and informational videos. CAIR released the document   


Research has demonstrated that Muslims face bullying at twice the rate of the national average. Students of color and other backgrounds are also targets of identity-based bullying. 

Many Muslim children report that they do not feel safe approaching their teachers or school leaders about bullying, which is a problem in many school districts across the nation.  

CAIR also 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’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, 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.

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CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut, 908-267-3119,  

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