Assistant Teacher Allegedly Calls Muslim Student A 'Terrorist' And Is Suspended By School District

His experience reflects that of many Muslims in America.

Mohammed Zubi YouTube

The War On Terror will and has reverberated throughout the United States for decades and many still deal with its aftermath to this day.

One of these people is New Jersey high school senior Mohammed Zubi who claims to have been called a terrorist by an assistant teacher in his math class.

Zubi says that the incident occurred when he raised his hand to ask for additional time on his assignment — prompting the teacher to have an Islamophobic response, according to the teen.


The teacher allegedly told the Muslim-American senior, “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

Zubi was reportedly shocked by the response, turning to ask another student if he had heard that correctly. Allegedly, the assistant teacher tried to smooth things over later in the class when they approached Zubi, patted him on the back and said that they didn’t mean it like that.

Zubi simply wondered as to what else they could have meant by that.


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Following 9/11 and the start of the War On Terror, Muslims living in the United States have faced exponentially more hatred and discrimination.

The accusation implies Islamophobia is still alive in schools. 

Muslim men in America shaved their beards and avoided wearing traditional Muslim garb, women avoided going out into public for fear of having racist remarks hurled at them over a headdress.

The War On Terror — and over 20 years of conflict in the Middle East — have left an indelible mark on this country and changed our perception of the world. There are many Americans who have known nothing but a world in which their country was at war in the Middle East.


America changed after 2001, permanently. In hindsight, it feels like there was an innocence in America in the 90s that was dashed by the terrorist attacks in 2001.

Ever since then Muslim extremist groups have been the enemy of choice for media and political rhetoric. Entire political careers have spawned from promises to combat Muslim extremism, but the real damage has come from the fear.

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The idea of “the next Muslim extremist terrorist threat” has been an everpresent element in the news cycle in the two decades since 2001.

And it’s not like this is all just catching up with us now. Muslims in America have faced undue adversity in connection with terrorism ever since 2001. The true tragedy that this event illustrates is how all of this is affecting people like Zubi.


Zubi is a Muslim-American high schooler that wasn’t even born at the time of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.

Zubi has grown up in a culture that has judged him the enemy for an event that occurred well before he even existed.

There’s even a chance that the assistant teacher described by Zubi didn’t have any malicious intent in saying what they said.

If that’s the case, then the fact that that response was so ingrained as to come out involuntarily in reply to a high schooler reflects the way that American culture as a whole has treated innocent Muslims since 2001.


The assistant teacher has since been suspended pending an investigation from the school district.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.