Education

More than half of California Muslim students have been bullied for faith, report says

Muslim children break their Ramadan fast after sunset by eating halal Mexican tacos from a food truck, during a campaign called 'Taco Trucks at Every Mosqude' at the Islamic Center in Santa Ana, California on June 14, 2017.
Muslim children break their Ramadan fast after sunset by eating halal Mexican tacos from a food truck, during a campaign called 'Taco Trucks at Every Mosqude' at the Islamic Center in Santa Ana, California on June 14, 2017.
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Feeling less welcome, safe and respected at school is a common experience for young Muslims, who are being bullied at twice the rate of their peers. 

The findings come by way of a report released Monday by the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who surveyed more than 1,000 Muslim students across the state between the ages of 11 and 18. 

53 percent of students polled said they have been made fun of, insulted or abused for being a Muslim, and 57 percent have seen their peers make derogatory comments about Islam online. More than a third of girls also said their peers had offensively tugged or touched their head scarves. 

"They call me a terrorist and when I get frustrate they say 'you're going to bomb us and laugh,'" one student told the group.

The report suggests that students are less likely to be able to turn to adults with their problems than they have in the past — 30 percent of students said they felt their problems were solved by an adult, whereas 42 percent reported they were in 2014. 

"Students face bullying from peers, teachers and even school administrators, and often feel as though they cannot get help," said CAIR Civil Rights Attorney Brittney Rezaei. "However, we have also seen amazing resilience from the students we work with who continue to thrive in the face of adversity."

CAIR is a Muslim advocacy organization with offices in the Sacramento Valley, the Bay Area, Southern California and San Diego.