indica News Bureau-
The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) has published a new report documenting faith-based bullying of and discrimination against Muslim students in California’s schools.
The report reveals that Muslim students are bullied at more than twice the rate of the national statistic.
The report, titled ‘Singled Out: Islamophobia in the Classroom and the Impact of Discrimination on Muslim Students’, is based on findings from a statewide survey of approximately 1,500 Muslim students between the ages of 11 and 18.
This report is the fourth in CAIR-CA’s series of biennial reports documenting the rates of bullying of Muslim students in California.
Each report is based on a survey which asks Muslim students across the state how they perceive their school environment and the type of bullying and/or discrimination they have experienced, as either a target or a bystander.
According to the new report, 40% of respondents reported being bullied for being Muslim, which is double the national statistic for students being targets of school bullying.
Key findings illustrate minimal improvement in school environments for Muslim students.
While 72% of Muslim students reported feeling comfortable letting others know they were Muslim, that percentage is down from the 2016 survey, when 77% felt the same.
Seventy percent of respondents felt safe, welcomed and respected in their schools, just 1% higher than in 2016. However, looking at the wider trend among CAIR-CA surveys, the number of Muslim students who reported feeling safe, welcome and respected at their schools has declined 13% since 2014.
The survey also considered gender-based differences in survey responses. More female students reported experiencing bullying, with 44% of female respondents reporting being bullied compared to 37% of male respondents.
CAIR-CA also focused on age-based differences. The data revealed that high-school-age student respondents were bullied at a higher rate than lower grades, with 48% of 12th grade respondents reporting being bullied, the highest rate based on age/grade.
“CAIR-CA has continued to fiercely combat anti-Muslim bullying through legislative efforts and direct legal services, and we are happy to note that this report finds a slight decrease of anti-Muslim bullying in public schools,” said CAIR-LA senior civil rights attorney Patricia Shnell, lead editor of the report.
“However, Muslim students still report bullying at alarmingly high rates, and there is a need to continue to advocate for students at the federal, state and district levels so that everyone has uninterrupted access to their education, regardless of their religion or background,” she said.
“This report highlights the need for proper implementation of anti-bullying frameworks focused on the particular experiences and challenges that students of the Muslim faith among others face,” said Ammad Rafiqi, CAIR-SFBA’s civil rights and legal services coordinator.
The report also provides recommendations on how lawmakers, schools and parents can work to create safe and inclusive school environments.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization which aims to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.