‘I Want to Do Something About It': Bay Area Muslim Student Says Classmate Pulled Her Hijab, Called Her a Terrorist

The seventh grader at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Hayward said the alleged incident was not the first time she has been bullied because of her religious beliefs.

A 13-year-old Bay Area student is speaking out after her classmate allegedly tugged at her hijab and called her a terrorist.

Nikki Hussein, a seventh grader at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Hayward, said the alleged incident was not the first time she has been bullied because of her religious beliefs.

"He's gone too far," Hussein said. "I want to do something about it."

Hussein is one of many California Muslim students reporting they have been the target of faith-based bullying. The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations released a report last year showing more than half of Muslim students in the state said they were the target of verbal abuse and insults.

With her mother's permission, Hussein on Monday did not mind going public with her story. She wants everyone to know about being bullied because she is Muslim and wears a hijab.

Hussein said she was sitting in class last Thursday when a classmate asked if she was a terrorist.

"I said no," Hussein said. "I told him that terrorism doesn't represent me or my religions, but he didn't care what I said."

Hussein said the boy then pulled her hijab to the side and started calling her names. She reported it to the vice principal.

"I just can't take it anymore," Hussein said. "I'm not going to let him do it again."

Hussein said the student started bullying her in third grade. She said the taunting became so unbearable she stopped wearing her hijab when she was 9.

Now at 13, she is taking a stand and she wants school administrators to stand with her.

"It makes me feel sad because the kid that bullies me, he thinks it's a joke," Hussein said. "He doesn't take it seriously."

Hussein's mother is taking the alleged incident seriously. The mother is angry because she believes Hussein is the victim of a hate crime and the school did not bother to inform her right away.

Hussein said she feels school administrators can do more.

"I feel they don't care because they are not doing anything," Hussein said. "They just suspended him, but he's going to come back and do the same thing again."

A spokesperson for the Hayward Unified School District on Monday said district officials just found out about the alleged incident. The spokesperson went on to say "the district values our diverse community and we have policies and procedures to address bullying, name-calling, violence and other intolerant behaviors."

The school district also said it has a safe and inclusive schools program that has a zero tolerance for bullies. District officials said the allegations are under investigation.

Hussein said she does not have confidence the school district will make the bullying stop.

NBC Bay Area's Kristofer Noceda contributed to this report.

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