A 7-year-old Muslim boy was badly beaten by some of his classmates onboard a school bus in North Carolina — and the boy’s father is blaming Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric for the senseless attack.
“Welcome to the United States of America of Donald Trump,” Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani captioned a Facebook photo showing his son, Abdul, with his left arm in a sling. “He is in grade 1, bullied and beaten by his own classmates in school bus for being a Muslim.”
Usmani told BuzzFeed News at least two Weatherstone Elementary School students shouted racial slurs while kicking and pummeling his son with fists.
“They keep beating him all the way from school to home on the bus,” he told the news site.
This was just the latest in a long string of harassment incidents that Usmani and his family members have been subjected to because of their faith.
Several neighbors in their small hometown of Cary have discriminated against them because of their Muslim heritage, Usmani said. One of his other sons was once attacked by classmates who tried to force feed him after they found out he only ate halal food, which is prepared and slaughtered according to Islamic law.
After Abdul came home from school and told him of the harrowing bus attack, Usmani decided that he had had enough of the U.S. and booked plane tickets for him, his wife and their three sons to go back to their native Pakistan. Usmani said they plan to stay at least until the election is over.
A spokeswoman for the elementary school did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the bus attack.
The sad irony of the whole situation is that Usmani in fact works as a chief technology officer for a Silicon Valley company that designs and produces software to combat terrorism across the Middle East. For one project, the company worked together with the United Nations to develop safe schools in Pakistan.
Usmani tied the escalation in discrimination against his family to the rise of Trump.
“All of these events, by the neighbors and everything skyrocketed since the beginning of the presidential campaigning last year,” he said. “That’s why I’m coming back from Pakistan to empty my apartment (in North Carolina) and wait and see what happens.”