Complaints of bullying and islamophobia in schools jumped 63 percent nationwide with incidents ranging from denying religious accommodations to verbal and physical abuse, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) surveyed in their annual report.
On Wednesday, the organization’s Sacramento Valley/Central California (CAIR-SV/CC) chapter released a 2023 Civil Rights report titled, “Progress in the Shadow of Prejudice.” It found a 23 percent decrease in the total complaints CAIR receives nationwide in 2022 (5,156) compared to 2021 (6,720) but an increase in school-related incidents.
The group says the rising complaints of school-related incidents may be due to schools returning to in-person learning. Legal advocates and attorneys from CAIR-SV/CC worry that the number of bullying complaints will continue to rise if there is no immediate intervention from schools.
“The dramatic increase in bullying and Islamophobia we are seeing in our schools highlights the urgent need for early intervention in the form of empowerment for the Muslim students and education for their peers and educators alike,” Senior Civil Rights Attorney Layli Shirani of CAIR-SV/CC said in a press release.
The report’s case studies portion highlighted anti-Muslim incidences of bullying and education discrimination in schools including Delaware, Florida, and California.
According to the report, the number of reported incidents reflect only “a mere snapshot of the experiences” Muslim Americans including children, families, and youth face in the United States.
Warrantless surveillance and targeted policing towards Muslim Americans contributes to the large disparities in reporting hate crimes, according to PBS. A report by CAIR New York surveyed 295 Muslims living in NYC finding that only four percent who experienced a hate crime reported it to law enforcement.
Legal advocates and attorneys from CAIR-SV/CC worry that the number of bullying complaints will continue to rise if there is no immediate intervention from schools.
CAIR-SV/CC’s team presented special sections in the report of how they hope to tackle the high rates of harassment and bullying Muslim American students face.
“We need to encourage an act of effort in educating people where they can report anti-Muslim incidences,” Ammar Asnari, a Research and Advocacy Coordinator for CAIR, told CBS 13.
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