Press Releases

CAIR Seeks Protection for Va. Muslim Student Facing Cyberbullying for Reporting Hijab Removal by Teacher

screenshot 2017 11 21 14 36 10 208(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/21/17) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, called on school officials in Virginia to protect a Muslim student who is facing cyberbullying after reporting that a teacher forcibly-removed her Islamic head scarf, or hijab.

That teacher at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Va., was placed on leave following the incident and the school district is promising a “thorough investigation” of the incident. CAIR sought further disciplinary action.

SEE: CAIR Calls for Further Action Against Va. Teacher Placed on Leave for Pulling Off Muslim Student’s Hijab

CAIR said the cyberbullying includes a tweet stating “f**k that dumb Muslim b**ch,” and a private message on Twitter Sent to the Muslim student stating “F**k is wrong with you?”

In a letter sent to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and to the school’s principal, CAIR wrote in part:

“While the FCPS conducts its investigation into [the teacher’s] actions, students and at least one Lake Braddock teacher have waged a social media campaign to intimidate and bully [the Muslim student]. Additionally, students held a protest to support the accused teacher during school hours on November 17, 2017, and during which an administrator acted in a manner that puts the credibility of the FCPS investigation in doubt. 

“”¦Principal Thomas is heard emboldening the students by informing them: “Your message is powerful. . .I hear you, and I will advocate for you.” It seems that Principal Thomas has thrown his support behind the accused teacher. As a result, we have no confidence that the school will conduct a fair and unbiased investigation. 

“To make matters worse, the students and at least one Lake Braddock teacher, have bullied and intimidated Yasmin on social media by posting messages on Twitter using the hashtag ”˜#FreeSaunders.’ The students and teacher are retaliating against [the Muslim student] for reporting her incident.  Shamefully, their comments indicate anti-Muslim sentiment”¦

“We have no doubt Fairfax County Public Schools considers the protection of its students, as well as their constitutional rights, top priorities. In addition to your investigation into [the teacher’s] actions, we request that you investigate the actions outlined above, issue appropriate discipline, and take appropriate steps to restore a safe educational environment.”


CAIR is urging 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.

CAIR recently 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.

SEE: CAIR Calls for Police Probe, Firing of Teacher After Tennessee Student’s Hijab Forcibly Removed in Class

The Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization is also calling for diversity training 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.

SEE: An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices

A recent report by CAIR’s California office revealed that Muslim students are bullied at twice the rate as the national average.

CAIR-CA Report: More Than Half of Muslim Students in California Experience Bullying, Discrimination

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:

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:

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 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.

– END –

CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 248-390-9784,; CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


Share on facebook
Share on twitter