MUSLIM MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT ATTACKED-Andrew Stelzer04/13/04
The harassment of a 12-year-old Muslim middle school girl in Palm Beach County is the latest of several recent acts of harassment of Muslims in Florida and across the country. Ahmed Badir works with the council on American Islamic relations, or CAIR. ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“She was hit with a belt and they called her Osama.Ã¢â‚¬?
The other students also told the young girl not to tell the principal or they would hit her again, instead she told her teacher, who dismissed the incident as unimportant, saying Ã¢â‚¬Å“kids are all like that.Ã¢â‚¬? ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“No all kids are not like thatÃ¢â‚¬?
The incident at congress Middle School is not being investigated as a hate incident because the school does not have any such classification. The incident follows another last week, in which Muslim woman wearing a headscarf was attacked in Tampa at Westshore shopping mall. 3 people assaulted her, told her to Ã¢â‚¬Å“get out of AmericaÃ¢â‚¬?, and blamed her and her religion for last months train bombing in Spain. Badir days that the media plays a huge role in creating a society that accepts crimes against people who appear to be Muslim. ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“Being that we are an organization that takes in complaints by the communityÃ¢â‚¬Â¦it waivers depending on the media slant.recent evenst have Ã¢â‚¬Â¦TV and radio viewers donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get an in depth analysis.images spark stereotypes.Ã¢â‚¬?
CAIR found Florida ranked second as the state with the most anti Muslim incidents. But across the country, hate crimes against Muslims have recently been on the rise. ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“The trend that we are seeing is that more people are lashing outÃ¢â‚¬Â¦these people are as American as anyone else.Ã¢â‚¬?
In Texas, a suspect was arrested last week for setting 4 Muslim owned businesses on fire. There have also been recent incidents of hateful graffiti on a mosque in Texas, and the wife of a Muslim spiritual leader was attacked in Maryland. Badair says that because of the increased number of American soldiers killed in Ira, we may be returning to the political climate of 2001.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“After September 11th, then it subsided to discriminationÃ¢â‚¬Â¦now its back to hate crimes.Ã¢â‚¬?
And Badair is calling on leadership from the press, and leaders of business and government to counteract the irrational violence.
ACT Ã¢â‚¬ËœA lot of whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going on overseas with the Iraq war and the rhetoric we are seeing effects Muslims hereÃ¢â‚¬Â¦its a very long term process to repair it, and we need leadership, even from eth white house.Ã¢â‚¬?
CongressÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ middle school officials did not return WMNF's calls for comment. A school district spokesman said he was unaware of the incident until the media began calling him on Monday. Badir says school officials did not take the attack seriously until the pressure began mounting from the media.. ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“They did not react the right way..Thats why we had to get involved.Ã¢â‚¬?
CAIR is planning to ask the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate. If you have been the victim or witness of anti muslim violence you can contact CAIR at 813-987-2400 or www.cair-florida.org.