Remarks directed at Arab American student send shockwaves through NJ high school

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Sunday, October 24, 2021
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A cruel remark directed at an Arab American student has sent shockwaves through Ridgefield Memorial High School.

RIDGEFIELD, New Jersey (WABC) -- A cruel remark directed at an Arab American student has sent shockwaves through Ridgefield Memorial High School.

Mohammed Zubi, a 17-year-old senior, was in a math class asking a question when it happened. The comment caught everyone off guard, and was loud enough for other kids in the class to hear.

"He responded saying, 'we don't negotiate with terrorists,' so I look around in shock, there's people laughing, and there's other people in shock, and I turn around and ask my friend, 'did he really just say that?' and she said yes," said Zubi.

"The teacher got close to him and said 'we don't negotiate with terrorists,' knowing that Mohammed is Arabic and Muslim," said senior Vuk Tomasese.

Senior Nichoalas Velez says everyone in the classroom was mostly in shock.

Zubi is captain of the soccer team but has not been back in school since he is the target of the Tuesday morning insult.

"I don't feel like going back, I'm really uncomfortable, " he said, "I don't want to see anyone, and I've been in my room all day -- don't want to see my friends, especially after what that teacher said to me."

His mother worked at the school, and his older brothers graduated from the high school. His older brother, Anas Zubi finds the remark very disturbing.

"To see my little brother, a minority, 17 years old, to hear a comment like that, you know, it broke my heart," he said.

Insults directed at Arab and Muslim students have made recent headlines following an incident in Maplewood where a teacher pulled off the hijab of a female student - this one just adds more insult to injury.

"It's almost unbelievable, we're left speechless, like why would a teacher say this to a student?" said Salaedin Masksut of CAIR New Jersey.

Eyewitness News reached out to the superintendet to comment on the case, they said it is a 'personnel matter' and they have nothing else to say at this point.

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