A Georgia teacher asked a Muslim student if she had a bomb in her backpack. This echoes a similar incident in which a Muslim teenager in Texas — Ahmed Mohamed — was suspected of having a bomb contained in his wiry clock device. The girl in this story wasn’t arrested, but it raised some eyebrows.
According to TPM, a teacher at Shiloh Middle School in Gwinnett County asked 13-year-old Faiza Osman in front of the entire classroom last week if she had a bomb in her backpack.
The eighth-grader simply told her she had books. The girl’s father, Abdirizak Aden, told CBS 46 that the family are Muslims from Somalia. He’s upset that the teacher would ask his daughter such a question. He nearly took his daughter out of the school, but was put more at ease after the teacher and the school’s principal spoke with him.
Faiza’s older sister — Anab Osman — was in the classroom when she was asked by the teacher if she was carrying a bomb in her backpack.
“‘Why do you have your book bag over your shoulders? Is there a bomb in there?'” Anab Osman said she overheard the teacher saying to Faiza. “It came out of nowhere. My sister was in shock.”
Aden believes that his daughter was singled out over the question because she wears a headscarf, which may draw more attention to her.
Faiza contacted her father after the incident because she was so embarrassed. All she wanted to do was go home at that point. Aden then went straight to the school to confront the teacher. At first, he was ignored by office staff, but was more successful in his second attempt when he met wtih the assistant principal and teacher.
According to the student’s father, the teacher was joking.
“She said she was joking. Then I said to her, ‘Do you know what’s going on in America? You’re not supposed to joke like this,'” said Aden.
The school district apologized on the teacher’s behalf, but said she didn’t mean any “ill intent” with her remark. School district representatives say they plan to talk with the teacher about her comments.
Still, Aden isn’t pleased with how things unfolded at his daughter’s school.
“We are from Africa, we are Muslims, we live in America,” he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I didn’t teach my children to hate people or to think they are better than other people. I don’t want nobody to treat them like that.”
Yusof Burke, board president of the Georgia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations,” issued a statement after the latest misunderstanding involving a Muslim student.
Burke says that the incident “shows the level of Islamophobia impacting people’s relationships with one another. Obviously a teacher and a student should have a unique kind of relationship … It’s very disturbing to see.”
After the incident involving Ahmed Mohamed, he was invited to the White House by President Obama. In the months leading to that visit, Mohamed was making public appearances at high-profile events around the country. He even went to meet a Sudanese president — which sparked controversy since President Omar al-Bashir is accused of several human rights violations. It wasn’t long after that visit, Ahmed came back to the United States to announce he and his family were moving to Qatar. His family is now suing the school district in Irving $15 million for having Ahmed arrested at school when teachers thought he had a bomb in his clock device.
In the case of the teacher asking the Muslim student if there was a bomb in her backpack, things appear to be less extreme. The school district hopes the teacher learned her lesson over making jokes about bombs in backpacks.
[Photo Credit: Shiloh Middle School Facebook]