Muslim student assaulted, hijab pulled off by schoolmate in US

Team Udayavani, Apr 13, 2019, 6:26 PM IST

New York: A high school Muslim student’s hijab was pulled off allegedly by a schoolmate who also hurled anti-Muslim slurs during a fight in the US, prompting authorities to arrest her, according to a media report.

The East Brunswick High School girl, whose name and age were not released, got into an argument with another girl on Wednesday because both students wanted the same seat in a common area on campus, the school’s Superintendent Victor Valeski said in a statement.

As the fight escalated, one of the girls pulled off the other girl’s hijab and started screaming anti-Muslim slurs at her, the superintendent was quoted as saying by the WNBC-TV.

A school security officer broke up the fight, but not before it was caught on video. The video was posted to social media at some point after the fight, the report said.

“Ultimately, the fight was determined to be a bias incident and was immediately reported to the East Brunswick Police Department and the County Prosecutor’s Office in accordance with Board Policy and the law,” Valeski said.

The student who pulled off the girl’s hijab was arrested and charged with simple assault, harassment, cyber harassment and disorderly conduct, Middlesex County prosecutors said.

“The East Brunswick Public School District values our diverse student body and community. The District does not tolerate any incidents of bias, discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying and takes swift action if such an event occurs,” the superintendent said.

The Muslim girl has also been suspended under the school’s zero-tolerance policy after the fight was broken up by a school security officer.

But some students and parents have questioned why she was suspended for ‘defending herself’.

“The Muslim woman and her family have been seen and offered any help needed from the school psychologists and support staff,” New Jersey Mayor Brad Cohen said.

“Let me be very clear in that I stand with our Muslim friends and neighbours in condemning this entire incident,” Cohen said.

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