Almost half of Muslim students in California bullied in school

  • More than 10% reported physical bullying such as slapping, kicking, or punching.
  • 17% of female students who wear a hijab, reported being bullied at least once because of they wear a hijab to school.
  • 50% were subjected to mean comments and rumors about them because of their religion.
  • 18% didn’t feel comfortable participating in classroom discussions in which Islam or Muslims were discussed.
  • 19% didn’t believe or were unsure that their teachers respected their religion.  
  • 35% of bullying victims indicated that reporting harassment incidents to school administrators did not help.

CLICK HERE to download the complete report “Growing in Faith: California Muslim Youth Experiences with Bullying, Harassment and Religious Accommodation in Schools" in pdf format.

The findings are based on a statewide survey by CAIR’s California chapter in the year 2012, of 471 Muslim students in California, ages 11 to 18. They were asked questions about their relationships with peers and teachers, as well as their comfort levels participating in discussions about Islam and Muslims.

The experience of Muslim students documented in this first-of-its-kind report shows that bullying is a serious issue. Protecting students from bullying remains one of CAIR’s nationwide priorities.  If you or someone you know has experienced bullying, have them or their parents contact CAIR-Washington State at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (206) 367-4081.

"Being called 'terrorist' or 'Bin laden' is still a reality for many American Muslim students," said CAIR-Los Angeles Civil Rights Manager Fatima Dadabhoy. "Throughout the course of this study, we were alarmed to find that many Muslim students didn't even deem this as a form of bullying. Through this report, we hope to show that a decision to dismiss mistreatment as a natural consequence of being Muslim in America, or simply part of growing up, is unacceptable and normalizes a toxic school environment."

"Too often we find that parents and teachers don't know how to adequately address bias-based bullying of American Muslim students," said Rachel Roberts, civil rights coordinator for CAIR's Northern California offices. "We hope this report will shed light on the resources available to parents, teachers, and students in order to effectively and proactively address school bullying."
The report also shares anecdotes from CAIR-California's case files to highlight the problems reported to the civil rights organization's offices and includes information about recent changes to the law because of high-profile cases of extreme school bullying.

Additionally, the report provides information for parents about how to request religious accommodation for their child and a list of resources that parents can use to learn more about the issues children face at school.  CAIR urges students and parents to contact their local CAIR office for assistance so that their complaints are given the attention they deserve.

CAIR also offers a booklet, called "An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.

If you or someone you know has experienced bullying, have them or their parents contact CAIR-Washington State at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (206) 367-4081.  If you live in a state outside the Northwest, you can find the closest CAIR office through this list of CAIR offices nationwide: www.cair.com/cair-chapters.html