With a mission ‘To enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding’, the Council on American-Islamic Relations is the largest American Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.
To make sure if Muslim students are comfortable with their classmates or if they’ve ever been picked up because of their religion, CAIR-California,organization’s largest and oldest chapter, conducted a survey among 500 Muslim students between ages 11 to18.
It turned out that 50% of the students have been bullied because of their religion. While most of them said that they feel comfortable with their fellows, many reported of being bullied in several ways.
Here are a few highlights of the study:
- 1 out of 10 students have been physically bullied because of their religion.
- 50% students said they’ve been subjected to mean comments and people spread rumors about them.
- 17% of female students who wear a hijab have experienced offensive touchingor pulling of their hijab.
CAIR-LA Civil Rights Manager Fatima Dadabhoy said in a statement: “Being called ‘terrorist’ or ‘Bin laden’ is still a reality for many American Muslim students.”
During the survey, students were asked some of the following questions:
Question:I feel comfortable letting students know that I am Muslim and talking about Islam outside of the classroom.
(A majority of students feel comfortable talking with peers about their Muslim identity, but a significant minority, 16%, do not or were unsure of how to answer.)
Question: The teachers at my school have respect for my religion.
(Most students believe teachers at school have respect for their religion, but nearly one
in five did not agree or were unsure of how to answer.)
Question: Has anyone from school made mean or offensive comments to you about your religion through e-mail, text message, or on websites like Facebook and Twitter.
(Twenty-one percent of respondents have experienced cyberbullying because of their religion.)
According to the gathered information, the survey concludes that ‘the experience of American Muslim youth in American public schools is generally positive, but it is also impacted significantly by bias-based bullying, teacher harassment, and the failure to accommodate student religious practices.’