“Do not suffer alone. If you are facing bullying, call Healsters toll free 24 hour hotline to speak to someone who can help, or report an anonymous tip.”
This is the main message of the new anti-bullying initiative launched Monday by a Chicago-based Muslim civil rights group in response to a spat of bullying episodes against Muslim students across the state.
“All students are entitled to safety and acceptance,” Zoya Shaik, a Lisle High School sophomore who faced offensive statements about Muslims in her class, told attendants at the launch of the initiative, Daily Herald reported.
Healsters.org was founded by Ahmed Rehab in Chicago in the fall of 2021 in response to a spat of bullying episodes against Muslim students across the state.
The initiative organizers set their mission as “to advocate for a zero-bullying, stress-free, welcoming and nurturing youth culture in educational and sports environments for all kids regardless of appearance, personality, nationality, faith, disability or orientation.”
Receiving many reports of bullying, CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab hopes healsters.org will help put a stop to this, providing a 24/7 toll-free hotline.
“For every case reported, there are probably dozens that go unreported,” Rehab said.
“Bullying is another pandemic that affects not just Muslim students, and it needs to be addressed. Safety, dignity and respect are basic human rights.”
For many American Muslims, the 9/11 attacks had far-reaching effects, changing their lives forever, and finding themselves forced to experience fear, hatred and prejudice against Islam.
Many researches and studies have revealed that one of incident’s negative effects is that bullying has become one of the biggest threats affecting the Black/African, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities.
In another effort, the Center for the Prevention of Hate and Bullying was founded by the Council of American-Islamic Relations and will be based in its Los Angeles chapter headquarters.
The two initiatives come a few days after CAIR California released its 2021 Bullying Report Oct. 29. The report showed that about 56% of Muslim students in California said they feel “unsafe, unwelcome or uncomfortable” in school because of their religious identity.