CONCRETE, Washington A leading American Muslim civil rights organization has asked the Department of Justice to investigate possible anti-Islam comments made by a Skagit County Middle School teacher in the classroom that encourage atmosphere conducive to bullying'.
We will ask that the US Department of Justice carry out an investigation into both the teacher's and the district's conduct in this case, Jennifer Gist, Civil Rights Coordinator at the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net on Tuesday, February 19.
In October 2012, a teacher at Concrete Middle School, reportedly compared Muslims to Nazis during a class lesson on bullying.
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The teacher allegedly stated that just like Hitler, Muslims train their children from birth to give their lives to Allah and are raised to be martyrs.
She also allegedly stated that Muslim children are raised and taught to kill innocents.
The case erupted after a student sent a tip to CAIR-WA telling how he was shocked by the incident.
CAIR-WA contacted school officials about the incident, but termed their brief reply totally inadequate and unresponsive.
Our attempts thus far to address the issue with the district have been unsuccessful, Gist said.
Educators need to know that bigoted, inflammatory statements will be taken seriously and that they are compromising the quality of education for all our children and encouraging and atmosphere conducive to bullying.
The leading Muslim group added they were concerned several state laws may have been violated, including one that prohibits discrimination in schools on the basis of religion.
If the allegations are true, CAIR officials added, the teacher's alleged comments could encourage bullying.
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims.
Since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, many Muslims have complained of facing discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities.
Defending herself, the teacher claimed she was talking about extreme terrorist' groups, and that this student took what she was saying out of context.
This allegation of unlawful or inappropriate discrimination based on religion is false. The allegation is based upon false information that is taken out of context, Concrete School District Superintendent Barbara Hawkings said in a statement released on Monday.
The teacher involved is an experienced and outstanding educator who treats every student with dignity and respect. She is a teacher students go to when they are having problems. The parent and/or student involved have never met with the teacher or school district to file a complaint or express a concern.
We find this allegation to be irresponsible concerning an issue of great importance to our district and staff. We strive to treat every student with dignity and respect and do not discriminate against any individual because of his/her religious beliefs, she added.
Yet, parents who have kids in the district expressed concerns about the issue and possible hate comments.
Teachers in general should be really careful, Craig Wenrick told Q13 Fox.
They're there for an educational reason and they have an outline on what to teach and I think they should stick to that and keep their personal views to themselves.
With the rise of anti-Islam sentiments in the United States, community and civil rights leaders from Arab American Forum complained about growing violence by bullies against Arab, Muslim and South Asian students
The forum, sponsored by the New Jersey chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, saw participants sharing reports of name-calling, intimidation and physical violence in schools.
Although most Americans defend religious freedom as a foundational principle, many admit to being uncomfortable with Islam, according to a 2010 report by the Pew Research Center.
While 38 percent of those surveyed said they had an unfavorable opinion of Islam, more than half of Americans said they did not know very much about Islam.
This discomfort with Islam was basically related to lacking proper information about this faith.
An earlier US survey has revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net