Letters of support pour in for threatened Muslim girl, 10

In this Nov. 14, 2018, photo, Jamaal Siddiqui, center, uncle of a student at the Hemenway Elementary School in Framingham, Mass., who received threatening notes, talks with reporters in Framingham. (AP)
Updated 30 November 2018

Letters of support pour in for threatened Muslim girl, 10

  • School officials say she received threatening notes in her classroom storage bin
  • The council encouraged people to send letters to the girl to “counteract the hateful message”

BOSTON: A Muslim girl in Massachusetts has received hundreds of letters of support after receiving threatening notes at her elementary school.
The Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that as of Thursday, it had received more than 500 notes from across the country for the 10-year-old.
The girl, whose name officials haven’t released, is in fifth grade at Hemenway Elementary School in Framingham, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Boston.
School officials say she received threatening notes in her classroom storage bin on two occasions this month. One note said, “You are a terrorist.” The other read, “I will kill you.”
Sumaiya Zama, the Massachusetts chapter’s director of community advocacy, said she’s “incredibly heartened” by the outpouring of support, particularly the “powerful messages” people from different faiths shared.
“Despite the climate of animosity and fear that so many Muslims face today, it’s clear that we have allies,” she said in a statement.
School officials, who had condemned the threats at the time and called for the culprit to step forward, didn’t comment Thursday. Framingham police said the case is still active.
The girl’s uncle, Jamaal Siddiqui, said at a news conference after the notes were discovered that the experience frightened his niece.
“She’s scared,” he said at the time. “She has all the right to be scared.”
The council encouraged people to send letters to the girl to “counteract the hateful message.”
Since then, letters have poured in from more than 20 states, including Hawaii, the council said.
A sampling of the notes provided by the council show handwritten messages with colorful illustrations and cheerful designs.
A note from a 6-year-old named Sophie shows an illustration of two people of different races holding hands and smiling. It reads: “Dear friend, people of all religions should be friends.”
Another message, from Mary B. in Springfield, Massachusetts, is written on multicolored paper with hearts all around it: “You are loved. You belong.”
And the Cade family wrote in a note that included a drawing of a tree, flowers and vegetables: “A Jewish family from Maryland is sending you love and support. You are wonderful!”
The council said it plans to deliver the messages to the girl’s family next week.
School districts in Massachusetts have been grappling with a rash of bigoted acts this year.
In the Boston suburb of Reading, officials have reported more than two dozen cases of swastikas and other hateful graffiti targeting minorities since May.


Bangladesh sentences 10 to death for 2001 political bombings

Updated 43 min 53 sec ago

Bangladesh sentences 10 to death for 2001 political bombings

  • Six of the defendants sentenced to death have absconded
  • inHarkat-ul Jihad al-Islami’s former chief Mufti Abdul Hannan was executed in 2017

DHAKA: A court in Bangladesh on Monday sentenced 10 members of a banned militant group to death for a bomb attack on a Communist Party rally in 2001.
Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Court’s Judge Mohammed Rabiul Alam made the order in a crowded courtroom while four of the defendants were in the dock. Six of the defendants sentenced to death have absconded. The court acquitted two others who fled. All of them belong to the banned group Harkat-ul Jihad Al-Islami.
The group considers the Communist Party an anti-Islamic force. On Jan. 20, 2001, bomb attacks on a party rally in Dhaka killed five people and wounded 50 others.
Alam said investigators found Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami’s former chief Mufti Abdul Hannan responsible for the party attack but his name was dropped from the case because he was executed in 2017. He was hanged for a separate case involving a grenade attack on a British high commissioner in Bangladesh.