Massachusetts public schools see 72% rise in requests for help due to Islamophobia: Study


A study by a US Muslim group has revealed a 72% increase in requests for its help from parents and students experiencing an Islamophobia crisis in public schools in the state of Massachusetts.

The mistreatment of Muslim schoolchildren in Massachusetts schools is a “pervasive” and “systemic problem,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in its recently released 2022 civil rights report “Meeting Changing Needs.”

“While we saw a decrease in requests for help concerning issues that typically affect adults, such as employment and housing discrimination, there was an alarming 72% increase in requests for help from parents and students experiencing an Islamophobia crisis in their public schools,” said the report, which was released by CAIR’s Massachusetts chapter (CAIR-MA).

“Muslim boys typically complained of being unfairly disciplined, which they suspect is due to their Muslim identities, while Muslim girls reported that their schools failed to protect them from relentless bullies targeting them and their hijab. Both are pervasive and systemic problems,” it said.

CAIR-MA said it received 124 requests for legal assistance in 2022, a 24% decrease from 2021.

The report also revealed “a disturbing 33% increase in calls about hate crimes and harassment” after a steady decrease for the past five years.

CAIR-MA Executive Director Tahirah Amatul-Wadud said that education is crucial for building a prosperous and lively society.

However, she highlighted that the report documents the distressing and traumatic experiences that numerous Muslim children in Massachusetts encounter every day.

“We will continue to equip parents with needed tools to communicate with school administrators and to empower our young people to organize and advocate for proactive policies in their schools,” said Amatul-Wadud.

Barbara Dougan, the legal director of CAIR-MA, affirmed their unwavering dedication to safeguarding the civil rights of Muslims.

“We remain deeply committed to protecting the civil rights of Muslims to live without fear, to worship without penalty, and to learn without harassment,” said Dougan.

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