November 30, 2021

Muslim American student Mohammed Zubi says teacher responded to question by saying ‘we don’t negotiate with terrorists’

RIDGEFIELD, N.J. — An Arab American student mentioned a teacher answered his question about homework with a comment on terrorists, making the highschool senior really feel uncomfortable and stunning fellow classmates Tuesday morning.

Mohammed Zubi advised our sister station WABC that he requested the teacher for permission to end an task at house throughout math class at Ridgefield Memorial Excessive Faculty, situated about 3 miles west of New York Metropolis in Bergen County, New Jersey.

“He responded saying, ‘We don’t negotiate with terrorists,'” Zubi advised WABC.

The 17-year-old Zubi, who can also be Muslim, mentioned the complete class and one other teacher heard the remark.

“I look around in shock,” Zubi mentioned. “There’s people laughing, and there’s other people in shock. I turn around and ask my friend, ‘Did he really just say that?’ and she said, ‘Yes.'”

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror assaults, younger American Muslims have grown up going through hostility, distrust and suspicion. In a 2017 Pew Analysis Middle survey of U.S. Muslims, practically half of respondents mentioned they skilled not less than one occasion of spiritual discrimination inside the yr earlier than.

Fellow senior Nicholas Velez mentioned he additionally heard the comment and reacted in shock.

“The teacher got close to him and said, ‘We don’t negotiate with terrorists,’ knowing that Mohammed is Arabic and Muslim,” Vuk Tomasese, one other senior, advised WABC.

The teacher, whose identification has not been verified, later approached Zubi and mentioned, “I didn’t mean it like that,” in accordance to a press release from the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ New Jersey chapter.

“It’s almost unbelievable. We’re left speechless. Why would a teacher say this to a student?” mentioned Selaedin Maksut, CAIR-NJ’s government director.

Zubi, captain of the varsity soccer crew, has not returned to faculty because the teacher’s apart.

“I don’t feel like going back. I’m really uncomfortable,” he mentioned. “I don’t want to see anyone, and I’ve been in my room all day — don’t want to see my friends, especially after what that teacher said to me.”

Zubi’s mom labored at Ridgefield Excessive, and his older siblings graduated from the highschool. His older brother, Anas Zubi, mentioned he finds the comment very disturbing.

“To see my little brother, a minority, 17 years old, to hear a comment like that, it broke my heart,” he mentioned.

WABC reached out to the varsity superintendent for remark. A spokesperson mentioned the problem was a “personnel matter” and that the district has nothing extra to say at this level.