Nearly Half of Muslim Students in California Schools Have Been Bullied in Some Way: Report

Nearly half of California's Muslim students say they have been subjected to some form of bias-based bullying, according to a first-ever report released Thursday. "Growing in Faith: California Muslim Youth Experiences with Bullying, Harassment and Religious Accommodation in Schools" was presented by the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA), whose Greater Los Angeles office is in Anaheim.

"Being called 'terrorist' or 'Bin laden' is still a reality for many American Muslim students," says CAIR-LA Civil Rights Manager Fatima Dadabhoy in a statement announcing the report.

"Throughout the course of this study, we were alarmed to find that many Muslim students didn't even deem this as a form of bullying. Through this report, we hope to show that a decision to dismiss mistreatment as a natural consequence of being Muslim in America, or simply part of growing up, is unacceptable and normalizes a toxic school environment."

Among the findings, based on a statewide survey of nearly 500 Muslim students ages 11 to 18:

* One in five young women reported being bullied because they wore an Islamic headscarf (hijab) to school;
* One in five youth reported they were unsure of participating in classroom discussions in which Islam or Muslims are discussed and were unsure of whether teachers respected their religion;
* More than a third of bullying victims surveyed indicated that reporting harassment incidents to school administrators was not helpful.

For more on the problem, read the full report:

For more on possible solutions, read An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices.

Email: Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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