“Mum, I already told you, I don’t want to talk about it again.”
Seven-year-old Abdul Aziz is sitting cross-legged on his bed, looking glum.
His family had packed up and left North Carolina the previous week to move back to Pakistan, after the boy had stepped off his school bus, bruised and sad.
A group of boys and girls had called him names, kicking and punching him in the face and stomach.
“They hit me at my face, they hit me at my chest, they hit me at my stomach, and then they hit me at my fingers,” he said.
A picture of Abdul in a sling went viral, and was shared on Facebook thousands of times.
“And they keep saying that my name, and they say my name’s a silly name, and they keep saying bad names to me,” he said.
“And they said Abdul means you’re fat and a bully. But that’s not true, mum,” he added.
“It hurt me more because they are all my friends but who bullies friends? They are not friends.”
The school told The Independent that they are investigating the incident, and that the school had tried and failed to contact the family. They added Abdul’s version of events were not corroborated with the other witnesses.
After a series of attacks and discrimination against him, his two brothers and his parents, father Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani said the family decided to go back to Pakistan, after a total of about eight years in the US.
Mr Usmani, a twice-Fulbright scholar who works in counter terrorism, told The Independent that Abdul wants to go back to the US when he “feels strong enough”.
His other two sons, aged 8 and 14, had also been called "terrorists" and were bullied.
He said the family might move back to the US - where Mr Usmani’s employer is based - if Donald Trump is not elected next month, as he thinks his losing the election could stem the rising tide in Islamophobia.Reuse content