Students walk out of class in protest of Islamophobia

Approximately 350 students participated in a walkout during 7th period Friday in response to an alleged Islamophobic attack at Fairfax High School, according to an email from Principal Jeffrey Litz.

The walkout, organized by the Muslim Student Association (MSA) branch at Marshall, and in cooperation with branches across the county, came after a reported Islamophobic assault in a neighboring school.

“All of us were really heartbroken about what happened [at Fairfax],” junior and MSA event coordinator Yasmin Sbai said.

Fairfax students said a group of other students were harassing Ekran Mohamed and her friends.

Mohamed said in an Instagram video that she confronted a student saying Islamophobic slurs, and when her backpack accidentally hit him, he tried to grab her hijab from the back. She turned around and punched him, and he threw her.

Mohamed’s lawyer Abed Ayoub later said to the MSA that two students were involved in the incident. One student said the slurs to Mohamed’s friends, and the other student didn’t use slurs but did remove her hijab.

Both Mohamed and her alleged attacker were given the same punishment and served an in-school suspension in the same room.

Sbai said the MSA organized the walkout to support Mohamed.

“We wanted to make sure that we had her back and that we were able to at least yell for her when she didn’t have the power to do it for herself,” Sbai said.

Sbai said the walkout wasn’t just about protesting an isolated incident.

“It’s for every Muslim who has been affected by Islamaphobia,” Sbai said.

“It’s really nice that a lot of people came out,” Sbai said. “I’m forever very grateful and I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life.”