Incidents of Islamophobia have gone up in recent years, especially among young children. According to a 2017 study, 42 per cent of Muslim families reported their children had experienced anti-Muslim bullying. On top of that, one in every four reported the incident came from teachers or other school officials.
Mic interviewed four Muslim schoolchildren in New York to hear about their experiences at school. The children aged between 8 and 11 didn’t know much about Donald Trump besides the fact that he is the president of the United States and wants to ban Muslims.
For eight-year-old Shahrazad, this is not good news. “I have family in Yemen,” Shahrazad said. “[They] can’t come if Donald Trump makes another ban. When I pray, I ask God to help America and Yemen.”
Trump’s presidential campaign was run on “banning Muslims” from coming into the USA and he has stated that he thinks “Islam hates us.” Ever since Trump began his campaign, hate crimes and Islamophobic speech has increased. Islamophobia also spiked after the 9/11 attacks. The young school children, however, have no knowledge of that tragedy.
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Enan, 10 and Shahrazad, 8 don’t think of 9/11 as anything other than a date. “I don’t know what 9/11 is,” Enan said.
Despite not knowing who Osama Bin Laden or having any sort of relations to al-Qaeda, they still suffer from anti-Muslim backlash that erupted 15 years ago.
Moheeb, 12, recalls how his classmates have called him a terrorist on different occasions. Depsite telling teachers and principals, they didn’t take any action. Now, he has no choice but to ignore the bullying. “I feel mad, because I don’t think [students and teachers] understand how I feel,” Moheeb said. “I sometimes ignore [the bullying]. If I cry about it, they’ll do [it] more.”