Muslim teacher receives anonymous note about her headscarf: ‘Hang yourself with it’

Mairah Teli, a teacher at Dacula High School in Gwinnett County, posts a picture of the note to Facebook 

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The Independent US

A Muslim teacher in a Georgia high school said someone left her an anonymous note in her classroom on Friday, telling her that her “headscarf isn’t allowed anymore.”

The note, scribbled in black ink, also told her to “tie” her headscarf around her neck and “hang yourself with it.”

The note ended with the word “America” along with a drawing of the American flag.

Mairah Teli, a teacher at Dacula High School in Gwinnett County, located outside Atlanta, posted a picture of the note to her Facebook page Friday.

“As a Muslim, I wear a headscarf as a practice of my faith. I want to share this to raise awareness about the reality and climate of our community. Spreading hate isn’t going to ‘make America great again,’” she wrote.

Sloan Roach, a spokeswoman for the Gwinnett County Schools, said in a statement that school officials are working to find out who wrote the note.

“We take a threat against a staff member a serious matter,” Roach said.

It’s unclear at this time whether the person who wrote it was inspired by Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, but Teli’s post on Facebook assumed as much.

“I feel children feel safe making comments that are racist or sexist because of him,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The incident comes as similar incidents involving harassment and hateful messages against people from certain backgrounds were reported in other parts of the country following Trump’s victory. On the campaign trail, the president-elect had promised to keep Muslims from entering the United States. He later backed off from a complete ban, saying his proposal would keep immigrants from countries that have been “compromised by terrorism.”

In his victory speech, Trump kept a unifying tone and promised to be “president of all Americans” — a departure from his campaign rhetoric.

“He said, ‘We’re going to calm the waters. We’re going to bring people together,'” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told Fox News on Wednesday morning.

But the aftermath of the election is anything but calm, as waves of anti-Trump protests — some more violent than others — spread across the country. Protests continue Saturday, four days after the election.

But division and vitriol seem to have intensified in the past few days.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there have been more than 200 incidents of harassment and intimidation since Trump was elected. Many were directed toward African Americans, immigrants, Muslims and the LGBT community.

The nonprofit group tallied individual incidents reported on the news and on social media, as well as those reported directly to the organisation’s website. The center, however, cautioned that not all incidents involved direct references to Trump, and not every incident could be independently verified. Many of the incidents were vandalisms, while others involved direct attacks.

In Ohio, a Muslim woman, her children and elderly parents were threatened by a man while they were stopped at a traffic light, according to the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The man allegedly approached the family’s car, banged on the window, and told the woman that she “doesn’t belong in this country” — while yelling obscenities and taking pictures of her children.

In Pennsylvania, students were seen on video holding a Trump sign and parading through the hallways of their York County school. One student shouted “white power,” police said. Minority students at the York County School of Technology said the harassment has been an issue for a month but has gotten worse since Trump was elected.

Victorria Markle, who is part black, told the York Dispatch that other students have called her the n-word and have threatened to kill her. Eibreha Drayden, who is part Mexican, said students have called her “Papi” and whistled at her like a dog.

In Michigan, students at Royal Oak Middle School chanted “build the wall” during lunch period in their school’s cafeteria. A Facebook video that appears to show the incident had been viewed 10 million times as of Saturday.

In Georgia’s DeKalb County, located next to the county where Teli teaches, a teacher was removed from class after allegedly going on a racist tirade against undocumented immigrants, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The Washington Post was unable to immediately contact Teli on Saturday.

Teli, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is a California native who grew up in Gwinnett County and teaches language arts at Dacula High School.

She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that after receiving the note, she told her students that she would be happy to speak with them about why she wears a headscarf.

“We are living in a time with a lot of disagreement, a lot of conflict,” Teli said, adding that it’s important to teach students to disagree peacefully and respectfully.

Lindsey Bever and Sarah Larimer contributed to this article.

©The Washington Post

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