The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations released a report
documenting bias-based bullying of
Muslim students in state schools.
The report Growing in Faith:
California Muslim Youth
Experiences with Bullying,
Harassment and Religious
Accommodation in Schools
received responses from 21 counties.
Over 471 Muslim students in public school between the ages of 11 and
18 were surveyed.
“We thought there was an unmet
need. Our civil rights organization
gets so many complaints about
issues — employment discrimination, national security apparatus,
hate-crime and hate incident and
we were unsure that how issues of
post 9 /11 America were affecting
Muslim youth,” Rachel Roberts,
civil rights coordinator, CAIR
Northern California, and one of the
authors of the report, told India
“We’ve heard anecdotes from
friends that growing up Muslim in
public schools was although not
horrible but it was not easy either.
They have to confront with lots of
challenges because of their identity and their religion.”
Many people could not understand why a young Muslim
woman would choose to wear the hijab. In schools they
faced bullying with people calling them terrorists, she
“We wanted to know what issues affected the Muslim
community and how we could develop good and effective
responses to them,” Robert said.
“We know that when children do not have a harmonious
and safe educational environment they are less likely to
perform well academically and socially,” she added.
“Parents often tell their children to ignore bullies and
focus on their studies, but we are hoping that this report
will make it clear that, that’s not the best strategy. We are
looking at this as a tool for parents, teachers and adminis-
Most of the respondents came from areas with large
Muslim populations like Orange County and Santa Clara
County. More young women than men responded to the
The Indian government’s dream to reconstructthe San Francisco-based Ghadar Memorial museum and
library may not materialize anytime soon.
Last year, while celebrating 100 years of
the Ghadar party, India’s Finance
Minister P Chidambaram announced that
the Indian government would fund the
rebuilding of the present structure located
on 5 Wood Street, San Francisco.
But the City of San Francisco says the
area has been zoned as residential and any
new development would mean they would
have to go through a zoning code.
“The zoning needs to be changed which
is not that easy,” Mary Woods, planner, City
of San Francisco Planning Department,
told India Abroad.
“The department board supervisor
could make that change, but they have to
write a legislation, followed by issuing an
She added that the Indian government
could keep the present structure and con-
tinue to operate the museum. But any new
construction would require permission.
Indian government officials met the city
planning department November 19,
though no applications were filed.
A project review meeting discussed the
reconstruction of the existing museum
and library. An idea to build the new
memorial as a replica of the original
Ghadar headquarters building at 436 Hill
Street was also mooted at the meeting.
The party headquarters moved to its
present location March 7, 1974.
Anand Kumar Jha, Consul, Community
Affairs at the Indian consulate in San
Francisco, told India Abroad, “Currently,
preliminary concept design and budget-
ary approvals are being coordinated with
the ministry of Overseas Indian affairs
and the ministry of external affairs.”
India Abroad learned that the contract
has been awarded to MEI Architects.
“We are excited about being involved
with the memorial’s design. Presently it’s
under the entitlement review process of
the City of San Francisco,” Bill Pearson,
design director, MEI Architects, said. “It’s
about a $5 million project. Under the new
proposal they have to demolish the exist-
ing facility and rebuild a new one.”
The building currently has a garage and
is single-storied. The consulate some-
times hosts events and meetings there.
“The new design of the building needs
to fit into the residential character of the
neighborhood,” Pearson said.
Inder Singh, chairman, Global
Organization of People of Indian Origin,
International, said, “The new structure
has to be three-storied and they have to
pull down the current building. We need a
library, museum, a big hall for the community and a room for a caretaker.
However, they have to make arrangements to make sure not to disturb the
One in five Muslim girls bullied
in California schools: Report
Long way to go before new Ghadar
Memorial museum becomes a reality
The report revealed that many people could not understand why a young
Muslim woman would choose to wear the hijab.
What the survey found
; One in five young women reported
being bullied for wearing the Islamic
headscarf, hijab, to school.
; One in five youth reported that they
were unsure of participating in
classroom discussions where Islam or
Muslims were discussed, as they were
unsure whether their teachers respected
; More than one-third of bullying
victims surveyed indicated that reporting harassment incidents to school
administrators wasn’t helpful.
; About 63 percent said they reported
incidents of bullying to a teacher or
principal, while only 53 percent said
they reported to their parents.
; 8 percent said they fought back bullies.
; 21 percent said they insulted them
; 11 percent said that they reacted by
making fun of the aggressor’s religion
; 61 percent reported that they never