World, Americas

Syrian teen hospitalized after racist assault in US

Nation’s largest Muslim civil rights group demands federal authorities investigate incident as hate crime

18.12.2018
Syrian teen hospitalized after racist assault in US

By Umar Farooq

NEW YORK 

Criminal charges are pending after a Muslim teen refugee was so severely beaten by another high school student she required treatment at a hospital for a concussion.

Video of the assault last week went viral on Facebook and showed the hijab-wearing teen come out of the bathroom stall at Chartiers Valley High School. The school is located just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

The Muslim was confronted by another girl in a purple shirt who had been trying to use stall to use an electronic cigarette.

The altercation turned violent when the attacker pushed the Syrian refugee. After trying to fight back, she is pushed to the ground by the other girl and beaten.

The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, demanded Monday federal authorities investigate the matter as a hate crime. The group is helping the victim's family with legal support.

"After this video she was beaten up some more, and she had go to go to the hospital," Zohra Lasania, program director at CAIR-Pittsburg told Anadolu Agency.

Lasania said teen is now home recovering from her injuries. 

Her family fled Syria and spent two years in a refugee camp before being granted entry to the United States.

"They were fleeing anarchy, violence, and the complete breakdown of the social system, governing system so they came to a civilized place and we all assured them this is the most civilized place in the world,” Safdar Khwaja, president of CAIR-Pittsburg, told local media. “To see this kind of violence take place, it’s very disappointing."

Police are investigating the incident but a law enforcement official said the incident does not appear to be religiously or racially motivated.

CAIR noted otherwise, and reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting Muslim-Americans, immigrants and other minority groups since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

The group recorded a 17 percent increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents nationwide in 2017 compared to 2016. Additionally, it reported a 15 percent increase in hate crimes targeting American Muslims, including children, youth and families, during the same period.

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