Examining Islamophobia in CA Schools

(LOS ANGELES, CA – 10/28/2021) – The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) today published a new report documenting bullying and discrimination of Muslim students in California Schools showing that more than half of Muslim students surveyed say they experienced faith-based bullying, a figure that is more than twice the rate of the national statistics.

Some 55% of all respondents surveyed reported feeling unsafe, unwelcome, or uncomfortable at school because of their Muslim identity. This is the highest reported level since CAIR-CA began conducting its biennial surveys in 2013. Almost half of respondents (47%) reported being bullied for being Muslim in the year-and-half period prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Post-pandemic, some 26% of students reported being bullied as a result of the decreased in in-person interactions amongst students.

To obtain the full report, go to: bit.ly/21Bullyingreport 

“Muslim students continue to face high levels of Islamophobic bullying at school,” said CAIR California CEO Hussam Ayloush. “It is disturbing that nearly one in three female respondents who wear a hijab, reported their hijab was tugged, pulled or offensively touched. As students have resumed in-person learning, school districts must take proactive steps in these initial months to ensure learning environments across the state that are free from hostility and discrimination for their Muslim populations.”

The experiences of the last year-and-a-half of adjustments by school districts and educators demonstrates that change is possible when administrators are forced to action.

“School districts’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic proves that these systems are capable of changing their entire educational model to be more responsive to the well-being of their students,” said CAIR Los Angeles Civil Rights Managing Attorney and the author of the report, Amr Shabaik. “It is evident that school districts are similarly capable of being responsive to the experiences and wellbeing of Muslim students. We urge schools and districts to take the proactive steps recommended in our report to ensure all students have uninterrupted access to their education, regardless of their religion or background.”

The report, titled “CAIR California’s 2021 Bullying Report: Examining Islamophobia in California Schools,” is based on findings from a statewide survey of 708 Muslim students between the ages of 11 and 18. This report is the fifth in CAIR-CA’s series of biennial reports documenting the rates of bullying of Muslim students in California. The 2021 survey and report also examined how the pandemic affected the way these students experienced bullying.

CAIR’s national office has released a resource document to help educators combat anti-Muslim bullying.

SEE: CAIR Marks Beginning of National Bullying Prevention Month with Resource Doc for Schools to Combat Anti-Muslim Bullying 

CAIR-CA also offers a booklet, called “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.

CAIR-CA is a chapter of CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil liberties, promote justice, and empower American Muslims

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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Social & Digital Media Manager Enjy El-Kadi, eelkadi@cair.com; (714) 851-4851