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Educators update anti-bullying messages to protect Muslims

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Meriden: In response to a surge in reports of anti-Muslim bullying students being called terrorists, having their head scarves ripped off and facing bias even from teachers US schools are expanding on efforts deployed in the past to help protect gays, racial minorities and other marginalised groups.

Civil rights organizations and other advocates have been working more closely with schools since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, stirred a new backlash that led the US Justice Department and US Education Department to urge vigilance on the bullying of Muslims.

While stressing that students have rights under the law, and that offenses should be reported, speakers at schools and mosques have also discussed how to create an inclusive culture, how Muslims are scapegoated for attacks and how non-Muslims can be allies to their peers.

“Muslim kids get bulled, gay kids get bullied because other kids are uncomfortable with them, and they show it,” said Bill Howe, a multicultural education specialist who spoke at an anti-bullying forum in December for children at Meriden’s Baitul Aman mosque.

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