Ibtihaj Muhammad is shown in this August 8, 2016, file photo waiting for her match at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics. Associated Press hide caption
switch to caption Author: Vincent Thian Ibtihaj Muhammad is shown in this August 8, 2016, file photo waiting for her match at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics.
Author: Vincent Thian Ibtihaj Muhammad, a U.S. Olympic fencer, is being sued for defamation by a New Jersey teacher who claims the Olympian harmed her reputation and career as a result of an incident involving one of the woman’s students.
A Black Muslim girl in second grade at Seth Boyden Elementary School who is 7 years old said that Tamar Herman had pulled her hijab from her head when she was at school last year. Unhappy, the girl told her mother when she got home.
Uncertain is Muhammad’s relationship to the family, but the Olympian was made aware of the situation. She described the young girl’s experience in her own (since-deleted) social media post, calling the teacher’s actions abuse. The post became popular.
From that point on, the local Maplewood neighborhood as well as the New Jersey branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) were in a tizzy. Herman was even criminally investigated in this situation. The prosecution decided not to file charges.
Herman’s case against Muhammad claims that the school district put her on leave, threatened and bullied her, and caused her reputation to be harmed. Herman, a Jew, claims that she also endured antisemitic abuse.
According to her lawsuit, “She suffered and continues to suffer from emotional and mental harm to such a degree that she has had no realistic choice but to permanently move out of her home and, prior to that, had to ask for police protection and temporarily relocate in the immediately following Defendants’ lies.”
In the lawsuit he filed against Muhammad, Herman also implicated CAIR and its leaders. Separately, she has filed a lawsuit against the South Orange-Maplewood School District.
The family of the youngster filed an sued Herman and the school district in March, alleging emotional injury.
WHAT BEGINNING AS A POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA, TOOK OFF Muhammad, a Maplewood resident, took home a bronze medal from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. She made history by becoming the first American Muslim woman to win an Olympic medal and the first American to compete in the Olympics while donning a hijab.
according to local reports cited her since-deleted social media post in which she claimed that Herman had told the girl “that her hair was lovely and she did not have to wear hijab to school anymore” in October 2021.
“Can you imagine being a kid and getting stripped in front of your classmates?” Muhammad uttered. Imagine the agony and embarrassment this incident has brought on for her. It is abusive. No of their religion, schools should be a place where all of our children can feel secure, loved, and protected.
Herman claims that a misunderstanding led to what happened.
According to court filings, Herman claims she observed her student on October 6, 2021 “wearing a hood that was obscuring her eyes.” She pulled back her hijab, which she initially mistook for a hood. The lawsuit asserts that she apologized and put it back on her head.
Herman is still on unpaid leave.
In the South Orange-Maplewood School District, allegations of prejudice are not new. Accusations that district administrators permitted racial segregation and racial inequities in student discipline and class enrollment led a parents’ group to form the Black Parents Workshop sued the district in 2018. A settlement was reached in 2020, in exchange for the district making a number of adjustments and paying the claimants.