Oh, the Internet. The best friend to everyone. Also, the same Internet that allows cyberbullying to be a thing and to be a tool for disaster. Especially if you are a Muslim.
Incidents of bullying against Muslim students, from hijab pulling to cyberbullying, have escalated, and a report done by the Council on American Islamic Relations school bullying report say Islamophobic rhetoric from the U.S. election in 2016 played a role.
The study discovered that out of about 1000 Muslim students ages 11 to 18, more than half reported being bullied and feeling less comfortable at school.
Several students have reported hijab-pulling incidents since the 2016 election. In Minnesota, a family of a female student reported that their daughter’s hijab had been pulled and thrown to the ground. The study also reported that 36% of respondents said they had their hijabs tugged, pulled or offensively touched. Parents fear for their daughters and have begun telling them not to wear their hijabs to school.
In addition to physical harassment Muslims have faced, there have been reports of faith-based harassment online – cyberbullying. Muslim students responded that they often see their peers posting about their faith on social media with 57% of students saying that their peers have made offensive remarks online. Maybe its because when you aren’t face to face with someone, people tend to be more emboldened online.
The media plays a huge role in this. Trump has called Muslims distasteful things, stating in December 2015 “There's a sickness. They're sick people. There's a sickness going on. There's a group of people that is very sick.” when he was asked if the ban he wants to put in place would include Canadian businessmen who are Muslim.
Not only does it affect Muslim students in schools, but it also has a dangerous second-hand effect on bystanders and observers of harassment to bullied Muslim students.
The impact on Muslim students is devastating. In an effort to be safe from harm and harassment, some choose to dissociate and prefer to not be identified as Muslim and go as far as denying their true faith. This includes taking off the hijab completely and not praying during school hours.
Cyberbullying has impacted our current social media crazed society in morbid ways. We often hear of high school kids being bullied online and suiciding shortly afterwards. A blog we stumbled upon shows a first-hand account of how cyberbullying has impacted a young Muslim woman’s life and the lengths she went through to try to stop it from continuing.
He even told me that I should be crucified, burned, and killed, which frightened me even more. I don’t even know this person...
The comments section of YouTube videos, Instagram photos and videos, and Facebook videos are riddled with intense foul language directed at destroying the self-esteem and faith of Muslims every single day.
Children are extremely impressionable ad their brains are yet not fully formed. The long-term effects of these incidents can cause are endless and horrific to even think about.