SEE ALSO: L.A. County Sheriff Defends Muslims, CAIR (LA Times)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CAIR Asks DOE to Address Racial Tensions in Minn. Schools
(ST. PAUL, MN, 3/24/10) - The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today called on the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to investigate and address reports of growing racial and religious tensions in Minnesota public schools.
CAIR-MN's request for DOE intervention came following a series of anti-Muslim incidents reported to the racial slurs and faced harassment for their religious beliefs by other students and teachers. Some alleged incidents include:by students across the state. Muslim students have allegedly been called "towel head" and other religious and
Yesterday, members of Minnesota's Islamic community gathered at the State Capitol to discuss the civil and religious rights of Muslim students with legislators.
Students reported to CAIR-MN that school administrators have failed to effectively respond to the incidents and the harassing treatment often becomes worse after they report it. Students also reported that those who are targeted the most are Somali students withbecause the perpetrators think that these students will be unable to communicate the incidents to administrators.
"It is clear that racial and religious tensions in the community have manifested in the schools and need to be addressed immediately," said CAIR-MN Assistant Director of Civil Rights Zahra Aljabri. "Students of all faiths and backgrounds in Minnesota must have a learning environment free of racism and intolerance."
Aljabri said the hostile school environment is affecting students academically and emotionally. She noted that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently pledgedthat his department is going to take a more active role in enforcing civil rights for students nationwide.
CAIR-MN is asking the U.S. Department of Education to investigate these incidents; aggressively implement racial and religious harassment policies and procedures; institute a zero-tolerance discrimination policy; discipline students, faculty and administrators who engage in bias-motivated behaviors; and provide peer mediation and diversity trainings to faculty and staff to create a safe community for learning and growing in Minnesota.
CAIR offers a booklet, called "An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for students of all faiths.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and . Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
- END -