Chicago: A Muslim student’s hijab was allegedly ripped off and her hair pulled down by a classmate at a school in Minnesota, the latest in a series of assaults and threats reported against headscarf-wearing women in the US following Donald Trump’s win.
The incident took place at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, prompting Anoka-Hennepin School District to launch an investigation into what Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is calling an assault.
CAIR’s Minnesota chapter released a statement on Tuesday expressing concern over the school district’s response to the incident that took place on Friday.
The family of the student reported to CAIR that a classmate came up behind the student, removed her hijab and threw it on the ground, then pulled her hair down in front of other students. CAIR alleged the school district did not respond to the incident until yesterday, the Star Tribune reported.
“School officials must take immediate actions to ensure that all students, regardless of their faith or ethnicity, are provided a safe learning environment,” CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said in a statement.
“It should not take days to respond to an apparently bias-motivated assault on a student,” Hussein said.
Hussein added that the aggressor was also targeting other Muslim female students.
The district confirmed the incident and is working to find out where the breakdown of communication between the parent and the school took place, district spokesman Jim Skelly was quoted as saying. District officials have reached out to CAIR, Skelly said.
The district released a statement stating that CAIR’s description of the incident “is inconsistent with the district’s understanding.”
“The preliminary findings of the investigation indicate that this was isolated and not motivated by bias,” the statement said.
“However, the concerns of the family reflect similar concerns around the metro and align with the need in our communities to find ways to talk about race and culture constructively and respectfully,” it said.
The Northdale incident is one of several cases of harassment reported at Minnesota schools following the election.
Racist graffiti mentioning President-elect Trump by name was reported last week at Maple Grove high school. Also a slew of incidents of intimidation and assaults have been reported across the country against hijab-clad women post election.
A Muslim student of Michigan University last week was approached by an unidentified man who yelled at her and threatened to set her on fire if she did not remove her hijab, prompting police to probe the hate crime incident.
The woman, who was not named, complied and left the area. Also last week, a Muslim high-school teacher in Georgia was told to hang herself with her headscarf in a handwritten anonymous note she received in her classroom.
The CAIR believes the surge in Islamophobia could be attributed to the President-elect’s victory.