Genuine anti-Muslim hate crimes are so thin on the ground that when a bus driver says to a Muslim girl wearing a blue hijab, “Hey, you with that blue thing, you don’t ride this bus and I’ve never seen you ride it so get off,” it becomes news. Clearly he was just using a quick identifier, the same way he might say, “Hey, you with the blonde hair” or “Hey, you with the red coat,” but Janna Bakeer says she “felt humiliated”: “I was just really embarrassed how everybody was staring.”
But isn’t getting people to stare the whole point of wearing the hijab in a place like Provo, Utah? Isn’t it a proclamation that the wearer is different, the wearer is modest and pious in a way that girls and women who are not covering their heads aren’t? Isn’t it a declaration that Muslims are now here, and here to stay?
Anyway, that Janna Bakeer and her parents would immediately leap to the conclusion that this routine incident was anti-Muslim discrimination shows that they have well imbibed the lesson that hate crimes are political capital, that they are of great use to Muslims in breaking down resistance to jihad and Islamic supremacism, and that where they don’t actually exist, they must be invented.
“Family claims daughter was discriminated against on school bus,” by Ladd Egan, KSL.com, January 9, 2017:
Provo — Claiming discrimination because of their Muslim religion, a Utah county family has hired an attorney after their 9th-grade daughter was asked twice to get off a school bus.
Janna Bakeer, 15, a freshman at Timpview High School, said she just wants an apology and said that the bus driver embarrassed her over the loudspeaker, identifying her only by the blue hijab she was wearing.
“It’s a part of who I am and where I come from and a part of my religion,” she said. “Every day, I match my hijab with my outfits.”
But in November, she felt singled out when she boarded a bus to head home — a bus the school district says she was not assigned to ride.
“… the bus driver, she got her speaker and I was wearing a blue scarf,” Bakeer said. “And she’s like, ‘Hey, you with that blue thing, you don’t ride this bus and I’ve never seen you ride it so get off.”
She said she felt humiliated and started to cry as she got off the bus.
“I was just really embarrassed how everybody was staring,” she said.
The family said they talked with the school to get things worked out for the next time she needed to ride the bus, which happened last Friday.
“I asked her politely, ‘Can I please ride the bus today?’ and she just put her arm and blocked the walkway to the bus,” Bakeer said.
“I absolutely believe that it was discrimination,” said the family’s attorney, Randall Spencer.
The family has hired an attorney to help them navigate the situation and communicate with the school.
“They would like an apology and they would like appropriate training for people in the school district,” Spencer said.
“She was asked to leave the bus because it was not her assigned bus,” said Provo School District spokesman Caleb Price.
Provo school district blames the confusion on Bakeer normally getting picked up from school and not knowing her correct bus.
“In no way was it discriminatory or meant to single out the student,” Price said.
“She could have told me face to face and not in front of everybody,” Bakeer said.
She hopes for more sensitivity in the future.
“Not judge others by how they look or what they wear. Just basically don’t judge a book by its cover,” she said.
The school district said it will continue to look into the issue and investigate what was said to the student.
“I think had Janna not been wearing a hijab that this would have perhaps been handled differently,” Spencer said.
The family has lived here since 2012 and says the community has treated them very well. The family attorney says they are not planning to file a lawsuit, they just want to improve understanding and tolerance.