Data show cases of anti-Muslim bullying in schools on the rise

by Kelly Brennan
Philadelphia Inquirer

In June, a Muslim family in Northeast Philadelphia filed a federal lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and St. Dominic Catholic School, alleging their son endured months of discrimination.

Similarly last month, an 11-year-old girl had her khimar, an Islamic headscarf, abruptly removed by a classmate. And in a separate incident, a student alleged his teacher persistently harassed him because he was Muslim, according to Philadelphia’s Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Officials at CAIR-Philadelphia said these acts represent a pattern of anti-Muslim bullying in schools that has been on the rise since 2014.

Since August, the organization has received more than a dozen complaints of anti-Muslim bullying targeted at 15 to 20 students in 13 schools and colleges in the region, said Timothy Welbeck, the civil rights attorney for CAIR-Philadelphia. By comparison, there was one complaint of bullying for 2014, two for 2015, and nine for 2016.

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