August 18, 2016
A Muslim family has sued a school in the US state of New York for allegedly forcing their son to sign a false confession claiming he was a terrorist.
According to the $25 million lawsuit, Nashwan Uppal, a 12-year-old with severe learning disabilities, was harassed and bullied with Islamaphobic taunts.
Attorney David Antwork said the school’s Assistant Principal Jason Stanton pressured Uppal to fill out a written confession.
“Stanton repeatedly asked Nashwan if he was a terrorist, and if he made bombs in his house,” the complaint says. When he said no, an increasingly irate Stanton allegedly bellowed, “Don’t lie to us!”
The family of Uppal, who live in Long Island, New York, alleged school authorities forced the boy to “confess” he was a member of the Daesh terrorist group and that he was planning to blow up the school’s outside fence.
A trembling Uppal wrote and signed terrorism confession saying he was “part of ISIS [Daesh], knew how to make bombs, that he had bombs in his house, and that he was going to blow up the school fence.”
School employees ignored when Uppal was being bullied, harassed and taunted by his classmates as a “terrorist”, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Brooklyn federal court.
Following the incident, police officers also searched the home of Uppal, who is a Pakistani-American national.
“It’s not like he was the new kid in school that all of a sudden nobody knew who he was,” Antwork said. “He was this sweet boy that’s been in the system for seven years since he was in kindergarten.”
Uppal thought a “terrorist” is a person who traveled from place to place, Antwork said, confused it with a tourist.
The attorney added that it is difficult to be a Muslim boy in the US these days. “There’s a lot going on in the news, there’s a lot of anti-Muslim rhetoric.”
The school has declined to issue a comment.