The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) published a new report documenting faith-based bullying and discrimination of Muslim students in California Schools.
CAIR-CA’s report reveals that Muslim students are bullied at twice the rate as the national average.
The report, titled “Unshakable: The Bullying of Muslim Students and the Unwavering Movement to Eradicate It,” is based on findings from a statewide survey of more than 1,000 Muslim students between the ages of 11 and 18.
Muslim students across the state were asked survey questions about how they perceived their school environment and the type of bullying and/or discrimination they have experienced at school as either a target or bystander.
Survey results show that Muslim students feel less safe, welcome and respected in their schools.
Fifty-three percent of respondents report that students at school are made fun of, verbally insulted or abused for being Muslim. Additionally, 26 percent of students reported being victims of cyberbullying, and a shocking 57 percent of students view their peers making offensive comments about Islam and Muslims online.
Thirty-six percent of female respondents, reported having their Islamic head scarves (hijab) tugged, pulled or being offensively touched, an increase of seven percent from CAIR-CA’s 2015 report.
Survey results reveal an increase in offensive comments made by teachers, administrators and other officials about the students’ religion. Only 30 percent of students reported that they felt their problems were solved by an adult, a decrease from 42 percent in 2014.
“The results of this survey reveal that Muslim students have to carry a heavy burden every day at school by facing bullies whose religious intolerance is now being legitimized by a sitting U.S. president,” said CAIR-LA Civil Rights Attorney Marwa Rifahie, the lead author of the report. “It is hard to ignore the negative effect the 2016 presidential campaign and that the election of Donald Trump has had on the progress made in the school bullying arena. It is important to continue advocating for learning environments that are free from hostility and discrimination.”
“As we feared, our survey results showed that the school environment for Muslim students has continued to worsen on all fronts,” said CAIR-SFBA Civil Rights Attorney Brittney Rezaei. “Students face bullying from peers, teachers and even school administrators, and often feel as though they cannot get help. However, we have also seen amazing resilience from the students we work with who continue to thrive in the face of adversity. ”
The report provides recommendations on how Congress, textbook publishers, schools, and parents can work to create safe and inclusive school environments.