A 7-year old Muslim boy kicked and hit on a school bus in North Carolina because of his religion
Our hearts are breaking for this little boy and his family. First grader Abdul Aziz got off the bus in Cary, North Carolina last Friday beaten and bruised. He is just seven-years old. Seven.
Imagine being his mother and seeing him get off the bus battered and shaken. Little Abdul Aziz told his parents that a classmate tried to force him to eat food that wasn’t halal, according to the Huffington Post. “Halal” means food that’s prepared in accordance to Muslim law. Abdul Aziz refused to eat the food and that’s when things got hostile. Five of his classmates allegedly punched him in the face, kicked him in the stomach, and twisted his arm while calling him “Muslim” over and over again, Abdul Aziz’s father told the reporter.
His father, Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani, posted this picture of his son with an arm sling on Facebook.
The caption reads: “Welcome to the United States of America of Donald Trump. Meet my son Abdul Aziz. He is in grade one, bullied and beaten by his own classmates [on] the school bus for being Muslim.”
His father is pointing out the glaringly obvious escalation of Islamophobia within the last year. Anti-Muslim hate crimes have gone through the roof. At least 260 hate crimes targeting Muslims were documented in 2015, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. That’s the highest it’s been since 2001 (the year of 9/11) and an 80 percent increase from 2014.
The surge in hate crimes seems to be coinciding quite closely with the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump rising to political prominence and his spewing of hateful, bigoted, and anti-Muslim rhetoric throughout this election year. Not only does he make horrifying remarks about those who follow the Islamic faith, he’s gone further to propose a discriminatory ban on Muslims entering the United States. Yes, a ban on a whole group of people based on their faith. Take a moment with that one. What if your faith (if you have one) was under attack? Trump has also called for surveillance inside mosques which infringes on a plethora of human rights and is plain rotten to do to a group of people because of their religion.
There was also that time the whole nation heard Trump mock a Muslim mother, yes mother, of a fallen American solider. Trump suggested that she wasn’t allowed to speak at the Democratic National Convention because of her faith. Her son died for this country and he was American.
Which brings us to an important point – our fellow Americans are being bullied, mistreated, and harmed because of anti-Muslim ideas. Americans, just like Abdul Aziz and his family.
“He was born and raised [in the United States]. He was born in Florida. As American as you can think of. He likes Captain America. He wants to be president of the United States of America,” Usmani told the reporter.
Little Abdul Aziz was born here in the United States. He’s American. And PS- Usmani, Abdul Aziz’s dad is a (twice) Fulbright scholar and an award-winning computer scientist who uses data to fight terrorism. Wow. Let that sink in. The guy saves lives in the U.S. and abroad from terrorism and now he and his family don’t feel safe here. Which is precisely why Abdul Aziz and his family packed their bags after their son was attacked last week and moved to Pakistan. “Bhagwanee landed in Islamabad on Monday with their three sons. Usmani has an apartment there, and it’s where they all plan to live now, because America doesn’t feel safe,” The Huffington Post reports.
“It’s very heartbreaking and sad. It’s not the America we know about, care about and want to live in,” Usmani said.
The spokesperson for the Wake County School District said they’re investigating but said no one on the bus, including the bus driver saw the fight happen. A dangerous thing to announce as a school because that would mean they’re essentially accusing the boy of lying about the incident. A boy that was emotionally traumatized and visibly beaten is not being believed. Sure hope we’re believing all kids when they say they’re being bullied or assaulted.
It’s painfully clear with how Abdul Aziz was targeted and beaten by his own first-grade classmates that we have a real problem here in America. When Americans don’t even want to live here because they don’t feel safe, isn’t it time to turn the mirror inward? This is our landscape. Our kids are acting out the divisiveness, the garbage, and the deep disgustingness of our current environment.
Hate, bigotry and racism are being bred right at home. We have a real responsibility to stop this. We have a real responsibility to make sure kids are safe at school, at home, and on our soil.