First grade Pakistani boy beaten on US school bus for 'being Muslim'

Published: October 12, 2016
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Abdul Usmani. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

Abdul Usmani. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

The parents of a seven-year-old boy said he was bullied and thrashed by at least five students on his school bus as they made references to Muslims and his Pakistani origin.

“These are six and seven year old kids calling him names, with one kid punching him in the face, while two other kids attacked him, kicked him, and held his arms back,” said Dr. Zeeshanul Hassan Usmani, Abdul Usmani’s father. Usmani described his son as “as American as you could get.”

He went on to say that his wife and three sons had already left the US for Pakistan following the incident and long history of discrimination towards the family.

“They keep beating him all the way from school to home on the bus,” Usmani elaborated as he talked about his son’s ride home from Weatherstone Elementary School in Cary, North Carolina, last Friday. The boy is traumatised after the attack and is suffering from a strained arm, he added.

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Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Wake County Public School System Lisa Luten told BuzzFeed News that the principal of the school initiated an investigation into the incident.

“[The principal] interviewed seven students sitting near this child, and none of the students, nor the bus driver, witnessed any type of altercation or incident,” Luten said.

PHOTO COURTESY: BUZZ FEED NEWS

The spokesperson added that the principal was to interview one more child at the school but added that he had not been able to get in contact with the family since Friday.

When told about the boy being discriminated, Luten claimed that “When [the family] originally shared the information, they did not share any info about religion or race, and just that their child was bullied.”

Usmani, 38, first came into the country from Pakistan as a Fulbright Scholar and currently works at a Sillicon Valley data software company as Chief Technology Officer.

Usmani revealed that his family had faced harassment by a neighbour for months because of their religion and even one of his sons was called a terrorist. He claimed that his son’s fellow students earlier attempted to force feed him food after finding out he only ate Halal food, meat slaughtered as per the Islamic law.

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“Times are changing and it’s not the America we always thought of and believed in. It’s not the America that I studied in,” Usmani said. “If [Donald] Trump wins, America will be great again, but a great that nobody will care about,” he said while referring to the Republican presidential nominee.

“All of these events, by the neighbors and everything skyrocketed since the beginning of the presidential campaigning last year. That’s why I’m coming back from Pakistan to empty my apartment [in North Carolina] and wait and see what happens,” Usmani maintained.

According to a report by the Council on American-Islamic relations, 55 per cent of Muslims pupils in California had reported some form of bullying on the basis of their religion. School bullying of Muslims has escalated dramatically as high as twice the national average, it added.

The article first appeared on Buzz Feed News

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Reader Comments (29)

  • John B
    Oct 12, 2016 - 2:18PM

    I belive the school principal. If the students misbehave the bus driver will also report the incident to the school. I do. It belive a word he says. The force feeding halal food says it all . Recommend

  • Zaheer Ahmed
    Oct 12, 2016 - 3:02PM

    Incidents like these are a norm in Western Society nowadays. No punitive action will take place. It was wise of his mother to come back to Pakistan with kids. Recommend

  • curious2
    Oct 12, 2016 - 3:17PM

    “[The principal] interviewed seven students sitting near this child, and none of the students, nor the bus driver, witnessed any type of altercation or incident,”
    .
    MMM – never heard of first graders successfully covering anything up let alone a conspiracy between bus driver/kids. Also never heard of anyone leaving a successful job in Silicon Valley over one time school fight. Recommend

  • James
    Oct 12, 2016 - 3:38PM

    @John B:

    Says what? It doesn’t say anything about force feeding Halal food, you can’t read. Your argument is speculative and meaningless, you believing on school that reputation to protect is funny.Recommend

  • Teacher
    Oct 12, 2016 - 3:40PM

    @curious2:

    I have heard of school children covering up incidents, when did you become the expert here? No one said anything about covering up, the Bus driver didn’t witness. Making assertion it didn’t happened it’s ignorant on your part. And here you trying to play Judge? lol. One time school fight? Reading entire article is too much for poor little you? Oh god bless.Recommend

  • Norman
    Oct 12, 2016 - 3:45PM

    @curious2:

    Never heard? Wow, so you’re the expert? Please. It’s pathetic how you’re trying defame this child for your ego. India has no moral backbone.Recommend

  • Baba
    Oct 12, 2016 - 3:54PM

    @curious2:

    Really? So all children are the same? I have heard of first grader getting with issue in bullying. I don’t see any conspiracy, yet someone connection you made with children. I don’t think Bus Driver couldn’t be driver because you haven’t heard? I have, you think any child would want to go to school with the fear of being bullied.Recommend

  • ...
    Oct 12, 2016 - 3:56PM

    @curious2:

    Really? So all children are the same? I have heard of first grader getting with issue in bullying. I don’t see any conspiracy, yet someone connection you made with children. I don’t think Bus Driver couldn’t be driver because you haven’t heard? I have, you think any child would want to go to school with the fear of being bullied.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Oct 12, 2016 - 4:13PM

    @Zaheer Ahmed: Bullying is a very serious issue in North America. Although, it’s unlikely kids would be criminally charged because of their ages, however they could be suspended from school and refused bus rides which becomes a big problem for parents. Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Oct 12, 2016 - 4:22PM

    Kid’s father has made a wise decision. He should keep his family in Pakistan until elections. If Trump wins, he should keep them permanently there and if Clinton wins then he should immediately leave Pakistan and go to some safer place. Look at Hillary’s record, what she has done to other Muslim countries.Recommend

  • abhi
    Oct 12, 2016 - 8:37PM

    This is intolerance..Recommend

  • Black Hawk
    Oct 12, 2016 - 9:05PM

    If the boy was indeed bullied & beaten, as an American & south asian, I find it disgusting and the school should take strict action. But Something does not fit well with this story. The boy was beaten up & yet no one around the bus including the driver saw anything. In the US, school bus drivers are attentive & have full view of the whole bus so its difficult to miss something like this. Secondly, why did the father decide to send back his family immediately because of this? He had many options including moving to another school district and he could’ve also sued the school if he had proof that the school had failed to take action on previous complaints. Seems fishy!Recommend

  • curious2
    Oct 13, 2016 - 3:42AM

    @Teacher:
    @curious2: I have heard of school children covering up incidents, when did you become the expert here?
    .
    Yeah – kids lie and it doesn’t take but a few minutes with an adult to get a first grader to admit he/she is lying. As far as being an expert – never said I was – but my grandchildren say I am “older than dirt” and I am a retired teacher … that good enough for you?Recommend

  • Babbarsher Khan
    Oct 13, 2016 - 6:50AM

    Hope he and his family gives up the US residency/citizenship permanently and tries to make Pakistan an accommodating place for all religions and sects including the Ahmadiyyas. He could have fought his case and situation while his family still being in the US where he would have got the support of citizens representing the cross-section of the population, which is a wishful thinking for hounded minorities in our land of the pure!Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Oct 13, 2016 - 8:09AM

    The boy’s father made a wise decision to move back to Pakistan, I hope The rest of the Muslims follow his wise footstepsRecommend

  • ABC
    Oct 13, 2016 - 8:35AM

    @curious2:

    Never heard of a first grader conspiring against whole school and society !!!Recommend

  • resilient
    Oct 13, 2016 - 10:09AM

    With due respect. I am a Hindu Pakistani Citizen. and this bullying and discrimination at schools has been going on for years in Pakistan. I faced it studying at Karachi schools, my kids are facing it now and probably the next generation will also face it.

    Now when the tides have turned back on you one can feel how much it hurts when someone bully your kid based on your religion. And yes this couple migrated to USA but we didn’t migrate to Pakistan. Recommend

  • Procrastinator
    Oct 13, 2016 - 11:16AM

    Quite strange to base the big decision of exiting the US on the actions of minor childs, who cant even discriminate between right and wrong at this age nor can their statements be fully credible..Recommend

  • Feroz
    Oct 13, 2016 - 12:23PM

    I condemn these shameful acts of bigotry very strongly. That even innocent children are not spared makes it double shameful. May the Light dispel the darkness and ignorance, wherever it exists.Recommend

  • Jamal
    Oct 13, 2016 - 12:46PM

    Thousands of school children are bullied on daily basis in America. The father had some rapport so he made it to the news. Recommend

  • zakhta
    Oct 13, 2016 - 1:18PM

    @Procrastinator:
    just imagine your family facing the same treatment in your neighborhood, schools and other public places. Be rational and don’t criticize when you have not faced a similar situation in life.Recommend

  • Mohammad
    Oct 13, 2016 - 2:49PM

    Bro.. I can’t digest this… hard to believe that 7 students are so radicalized by Trump to beat the fellow student. They are too young to follow Trump. Recommend

  • Zen
    Oct 13, 2016 - 2:55PM

    @resilient:
    Comment of the day.Recommend

  • Teacher
    Oct 13, 2016 - 4:22PM

    @curious2:

    Sorry that’s your opinion of children, fact remains children have gotten away with lying. I don’t know what heck the rest of your post is saying. Maybe get an education or give up on the internet.Recommend

  • One thought
    Oct 13, 2016 - 6:52PM

    This is a story of an innocent kid being beaten up,in the school bus, because of his religion, here in Pakistan so many have lost their precious lives because they to belong to a minority religion. Minorities in Pakistan and India belong to the land they live on before independence , yet religion causes friction and hatred. Most unfortunate. There are hundreds if not thousands of cases when people have suffered tremendously just because of the religion they belong to.Recommend

  • Reeba
    Oct 13, 2016 - 8:59PM

    There is something fishy with the story. When the parents first complained about bullying,race or religion was not an issue for bullying and parents changed their version to religious bullying later. For all types of bullying, the schools are forced to take action and the parents can sue for big dollars. Here the parents’ decision to send the family to Pakistan means they want to avoid further questioning and it could emerge as a case of domestic abuse.Hope this is not the case as an innocent child is suffering. Recommend

  • Umair
    Oct 14, 2016 - 1:34PM

    @resilient:
    mate don’t generalize … i completed my entire education from pakistani schools and colleges with many hindu and christian friends … not once, not once have i heard of any cases of bullying based on religion … I repeat NEVER. stop giving your country a bad nameRecommend

  • Vijay Chandwani
    Oct 14, 2016 - 1:56PM

    @resilient:
    I am a minority member from Karachi, and I don’t believe you one bit. Also, your grammar reflects that of an Indian troll.Recommend

  • Wasim Kamran
    Oct 14, 2016 - 3:48PM

    this is very pathetic and painful for parents of this kid.. no one can tolerate this kind of issueRecommend

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