Waleed Abushaaban, an honor student in middle school at Fort Bend County, Texas, was having a good day. Relieved that he was done with school tests, he was watching "Bend It Like Beckham" with his classmates. However, when he laughed jovially at one of the scenes, his teacher made an acrimonious comment.
“‘I wouldn’t be laughing if I was you,’” the 12-year-old reported his teacher saying. “And I said why? She said, ‘Because we all think you’re a terrorist.'”
Spurred on by their teacher, the children took no time in being cruel to the boy. Waleed felt like a specimen on display, the terrifying "other."
“They were like, ‘oh I see a bomb!’ and they started all laughing and making jokes,” he told KHOU. “I was upset and I felt like I was put in the corner and like everybody was just looking at me.”
This case is reminiscent of the clock-bomb fiasco. When Ahmed Mohamed, another Muslim schoolboy in Texas, brought to school a clock he had made himself and his teacher called the police, thinking the clock was a bomb.
This is no normal case of school bullying. The teacher has been removed from the classroom, but Waleed’s family, like many other Muslims from the area, want her terminated. Moreover, they want mandatory religious sensitivity training for students and teachers.
“Just because my son is a Muslim doesn’t mean he is a terrorist,” Malek Abushaaban, student's father, told the local news. “He’s an American. He’s as American as anybody else. He was born here. That’s all he knows, is how to be an American.”
The teacher claimed she did not mean to marginalize Waleed. She has defended herself by saying that this was her well-intentioned, but misguided, attempt at portraying the negative stereotypes prevalent in society.
Find out more in the video below: