The political climate is absolutely lethal right now–and it’s especially frightening for parents. One 1st grader and his family are suffering as a result of the widespread racism permeating not just workplaces, but schools.
Last week, 7-year-old Abdul Aziz got off his school bus in Cary, North Carolina beaten and bruised. Imagine being his mom. Imagine being his mom and seeing her son hurt. According to the Huffington Post, Abdul told his parents that a classmate tried to force him to eat food that wasn’t halal. “Halal” means food that’s prepared in accordance to Muslim law.
When Abdul refused to eat the food, 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. This is absolutely frightening–kids don’t come up with these violent ideas on their own–they hear it at home first.
After the incident, his father, Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani, posted this picture of his son with an arm sling on Facebook.
His father told Huffpo how his son isn’t any different than any other kid (and obviously, why would he be just because he’s Muslim?):
“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.”
Of course, even if Abdul wasn’t born in the U.S., that shouldn’t matter. No one should be assaulted, bullied, or discriminated against just because of their religion or race. Because of what happened, however, Abdul Aziz’s family packed and moved to Pakistan–because they don’t feel safe in a country that’s supposed to be “the land of the free.” Usmani stated:
“It’s very heartbreaking and sad. It’s not the America we know about, care about and want to live in.”
As of now, the spokesperson for the Wake County School District said they’re investigating what happened–apparently no one on the bus “saw” the fight–which basically means they’re trying to ignore it ever happening. It’s hard to imagine no one saw a boy getting beat up.
It saddens me that we live in a time and place where incidents like this are not only happening, but are being swept under the carpet. If we can’t even make our kids feel safe at home and at school, something is very, very wrong.