A Florida teacher has been fired after allegedly disturbing Muslim students while they were praying and accusing them of performing “magic”, according to a TikTok video that has gone viral.
The video – which was posted on Thursday and liked more than 880,000 times – shows three Muslim students from Franklin Academy performing a prayer while one of them recites “Surah At-Tin” from the Quran.
As they prostrate on the ground, a teacher is heard in the background.
“Wait, this is my office,” said the professor. “And you do all this magic.”
The teacher is then heard whistling and trying to get the students’ attention before stepping on it as they pray, almost stepping on one of their hands in the process.
“I believe in Jesus, so I interrupt the floor,” the professor said.
Just like Christians, Muslims also believe in Jesus.
“And why are they in my office?” the teacher asks, to which someone else replies, “they’re praying”.
The five daily Islamic prayers are very sacred to Muslims and, once started, should not be interrupted by other people or by those who are praying themselves. During prayers, Muslims keep their heads bowed and prostrate a certain number of times, depending on the prayer and the time it falls.
In a statement on the incident, Franklin Academy said it was made aware of a “very disturbing TikTok video” on Thursday and that it “does not condone discriminatory behavior in any form.”
“Although we do not discuss personnel matters, we can say that the teacher in question is no longer on staff at Franklin Academy,” read the statement posted on Facebook.
In a separate Facebook statement, the school said one of its teachers was “incorrectly and incorrectly identified in the comments of numerous social media posts” as the teacher in question, and asked the community to help dispel the rumor.
Franklin Academy did not identify the teacher or respond to questions asking when this incident occurred.
Incidents like this explain why it’s important for school staff to be religiously aware, according to Abdullah Jaber, executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida).
“It is of the utmost importance that school administrators and staff know basic religious practices to serve students practicing their faith, in this case, Muslims,” Jaber said.
Video of the incident circulating online sparked a lot of outrage.
“She’s supposed to protect them,” a comment on the TikTok, liked more than 36,000 times, read. “And be educated enough to know it’s not magic, they’re just praying!”
In 2022, CAIR-Florida “noted a sharp increase in incoming calls regarding anti-Muslim school bullying and discrimination.”
According to a report, around 48% of Muslim families surveyed by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) said they had a school-aged child who “experienced religiously motivated bullying” in 2022.
“A fifth of Muslim families report that bullying happens almost every day,” the nonprofit organization said in the report.
According to the ISPU, Muslim parents said their children had been bullied because of their faith at school by students and adults – 64% said the bullying came from other students at school and 42% said it came from a teacher or school official.
Bullying was also online, with 31% of families saying their child had been bullied by other students online and 19% saying a teacher or school official had initiated the bullying. cyberbullying.
“In summary, many Muslim children and parents have to worry about religious bullying at school and online from other students and even trusted adults at school,” the ISPU said.