In a recent report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), results show that a large percentage of Muslim students in California have been bullied, simply because they are Muslim. 40.04 percent of the Muslim students reported being bullied at school. Some students have gone as far as to hide their identity because they’re afraid of being bullied for who they are.
While we don’t have any statistics for the Muslim students in Saint Louis, Missouri area, I imagine the results for bullying among youth would be much worse. Missouri ranks third among the top 10 states with bullying problems (WalletHub). In comparison, California ranks 42 in the list of states with bullying problems.
Every seven minutes a child gets bullied (WalletHub). Bullying comes in physical, verbal, and psychological forms of aggression. It can be in person or through text, email, or other social media outlets. Bullying can happen directly in front of you or indirectly, such as by spreading rumors about you. You don’t have to keep hiding and fearing the worst. You don’t have to deal with this alone and remain silent. Let us put a stop to bullying now.
Here are some things you can do if you are a victim of bullying:
Talk to your parents
Talk to your school's social worker or counselor
Talk to your teachers
Let a trusted friend know what's going on
Use the buddy system: try to always walk around the school or sit on the bus with a friend
Be brave and firmly tell the bully to "STOP!"
Bullying Can Start at an Early Age
Bullying can start as early as elementary school, so parents, please be on alert at all times.
Here are some signs to look for in your children:
Change in behavior or mood
Changing in eating habits
Change in sleeping pattern
Avoiding certain places or situations
Constantly check in with your kids and see what’s going on in their lives. Ask about their day and find ways to allow them to talk to you with ease. Spend time with them and give them aman (safety) that you won’t be upset if they tell you what’s going on. You know your child; if you feel like something is wrong, there probably is.
The Effects of Bullying Among Youth
Bullying can leave a negative impact on students, such as:
Grades go down
Skipping and missing school
Little participation in school activities
Not sleeping enough or sleeping more
Eating less or more than normal
*Untreated depression from bullying can possibly lead to suicidal thoughts. If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help.
You can anonymously call, text, or chat with a trained suicide specialist:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1- 800-273-TALK )
You can text them as well by texting the word, "GO" to 741741.
You can also chat with them here: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Being a Witness to Bullying
If you are a witness to someone getting bullied, don't stand by and watch. Stay safe, but get help. Get a principal, school staff, teacher, whoever you can get the quickest.
Remember that Prophet Muhammad (صَلّى االلهُ عَلَيْهِ وسَلَّم) Said:
عن أَبي سعيدٍ الخُدْريِّ رضي اللَّه عنه قال : سمِعْتُ رسُولَ اللَّه صَلّى االلهُ عَلَيْهِ وسَلَّم يقُولُ : « مَنْ رَأَى مِنْكُم مُنْكراً فَلْيغيِّرْهُ بِيَدهِ ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطعْ فبِلِسَانِهِ ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبقَلبهِ وَذَلَكَ أَضْعَفُ الإِيمانِ » رواه مسلم .
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith". [Muslim].
Don't physically get involved if it is not safe for you to do so. Get someone who can help stop the bullying.
Have you been a victim of bullying or know someone who has? Let us know below.