Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

CAIR Seeks Federal Investigation of Maryland Teacher's Anti-Muslim Statements

Teacher told student: 'You terrorist. You little Osama. You have a bomb in your locker.'
WASHINGTON -

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today said it has asked the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights to investigate an incident at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Md., in which a teacher allegedly made a series of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab statements directed at a Muslim student in a classroom.

After an altercation involving two students, the teacher reportedly approached a Muslim student of Middle Eastern heritage and said, "You terrorist. You little Osama. You have a bomb in your locker." 

In a letter to Wendella Fox at the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, CAIR Civil Rights Litigation Director Jenifer Wicks wrote in part:

"We believe [the teacher's] statements were highly offensive and exhibit clear prejudice and antagonism towards Muslim and Arab students based on their apparent religious and racial status. Additionally, her statements may have implied to other students that all Muslims or Arabs are violent or would become terrorists. Such offensive remarks are particularly troubling because they came from a faculty member who is entrusted to maintain a safe, inclusive classroom and serve as an example for her students. We are hopeful that you will agree that such discriminatory animus has no place in a learning environment."

While the teacher has reportedly admitted to making this statement, school administrators allegedly retaliated by moving the student to a different classroom and have refused to indicate whether and how they disciplined the teacher.

CAIR is seeking an investigation of the incident, disciplinary action against the teacher, protection from retaliation for the students in the class, and diversity training for faculty and staff.

"Bullying can have lasting, harmful repercussions and must not be tolerated," said CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Zainab Chaudry. "It is unacceptable and particularly disturbing when educators who are entrusted with teaching students engage in Islamophobia and bullying. We must take measures to protect students of all faiths and prevent these incidents from occurring in any school."

###

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

Research Reveals How PR Firms Have Spent Decades Fueling Climate Misinformation

"The best time to stop working for fossil fuel clients was 20 years ago, when we had much more time to stop the climate emergency. The second best time is now."

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressives Decry US Gun Control Failures After 'Truly Sickening' Michigan School Shooting

"A 15-year-old shooter may have picked up the weapon, but Congress—through its inaction on gun violence—may as well have handed it to him."

Brett Wilkins ·


New Climate Study Predicting More Rain Than Snow in the Arctic 'Rings Alarm Bells'

"There are huge ramifications of these changes," said the lead researcher, "all of which have implications on wildlife populations and human livelihoods."

Jessica Corbett ·


Durbin Introduces Amendment to End 'Legacy of Cruelty' by Closing Guantánamo

"It's time at long last to face reality and... close the detention facility at Guantánamo. Let's put this dark chapter behind us once and for all."

Brett Wilkins ·


With SCOTUS Set to Hear Abortion Case, Anti-Choice Groups Prepare to Enact 'Post-Roe Strategy'

Right-wing groups are lobbying lawmakers to pass state-level restrictions and ban sales of abortion pills, should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo