A Muslim girl was attacked at her New York middle school by three schoolmates who referred to the girl as a terrorist organization and tried ripping off her religious garb, INSIDE EDITION has learned.
The sixth grade girl, whose identity IE is withholding, was playing during recess when three boys allegedly went after her on November 19 at P.S. 89 in the Bronx, a school source who spoke on the condition of anonymity told IE.
The boys, who are in the same grade as the girl, allegedly put her in a headlock and punched her as they tried to take off her hijab, the source said.
While beating up the girl, the boys also allegedly called her “ISIS,” the source said.
The incident occurred less than a week after 130 people were killed in Paris in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks, which were claimed by the Islamic State, or ISIS.
Officers responded to a 911 call about the attack at P.S. 89, which was reported as a bias incident in which three students attacked one other student, but a police report was never taken, a law enforcement source said.
The boys were expected to appear at a disciplinary hearing for their alleged actions shortly after the incident, but it was postponed in order to allow the boys’ families to hire legal representation, the school source said.
“Unfortunately young Muslims have been experiencing this for quite some time,” Corey Saylor, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told IE.
“Since August of last year… we’ve seen a cycle of Islamophobia that’s had a much more violent tinge to it than we’ve seen in many, many years,” said Saylor, who serves as CAIR’s director of the department to monitor and combat Islamophobia.
“I would’ve argued that it was calming down, until Paris followed by San Bernardino,” Saylor said.
The mass shooting that saw 14 people killed and 21 wounded when a husband and wife opened fire at a holiday party in San Bernardino on December 5 has left Muslim-American communities in fear of backlash.
“One of the girls told me, ‘I’m scared to wear my hijab anymore in public.’ That should not be the case. That should not be the case in the United States of America,” said one attendee of a prayer vigil at the largest mosque in San Bernardino held in response to the massacre.
“There is no burning bush solution… but for us, the problem that we’re trying to solve is that most Americans were introduced to Islam on 9/11 watching airplanes fly into buildings,” Saylor continued, noting that media coverage of Islam in recent years has been, arguably, overwhelmingly negative.
“If you’re subject to this steady diet of negative, and you’re getting it at home, we as a community have to figure out a way to overcome that,” he said. “I would argue that the school could make this is an opportunity for inclusiveness, making sure all the students are treated as Americans.”
The principal of P.S. 89, known as the Williamsbridge School, declined to comment on the incident.
“We are committed to promoting safe and supportive environments and a community of inclusion in all DOE schools,” a source at the Department of Education told IE.