BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Montgomery County Police say they’re investigating after a Muslim student received offensive messages that referenced her religion.
The school system vowed to take action if they find out a student is behind the threats.
The victim is a Sudanese-American who was running for a leadership role on the county’s school board, and her Muslim faith may have made her a target for some disturbing comments.
Nimah Nayel, 16, said she’s defiant and unafraid — even after troubling messages popped up in her inbox.
“I am not and will never be afraid of cowards,” Nayel said.
The Richard Montgomery junior ran for a student position on the county school board. Throughout her campaign, she said she received aggressive emails, but last week’s messages were the worst.
Some of the profanity-laced emails are too graphic to publish, but one message told the Sudanese-American to get out of the country.
According to Nayel, one of the messages said, “Why the *expletive* do you breathe?”
“I was extremely hurt, it was like, it takes a lot to shake me, but those messages shook me,” she said.
Montgomery County Police say the department is investigating.
The school system released the following statement:
“As soon as we were made aware of the threats it was reported to school security and the Montgomery County Police Department. Police are currently investigating and if it is discovered that these threats and hateful messages were sent by MCPS students, they will receive consequences aligned with our student code of conduct and will be referred to law enforcement. We will not tolerate this type of behavior.”
Dr. Zainab Chaudry with the Council on American-Islamic Relations said her organization is fighting an uptick in anti-Muslim sentiment.
“Especially in this day and age when we see school shootings and we see like rampant toxic impact of Islamophobia across the country and different kinds of bigotry, we can’t take these threats lightly,” Chaudry said.
Nayel is the junior class president. Her mother says the anti-Muslim emails are frightening.
“When I send my daughter to school, I want her to come back safe and I want her sisters to come back safe,” Haja El Mubarak, Nayel’s mother, said.
“Guess it was a lesson that everyone learns, and I’m not upset that I learn it so early on in life. I’m empowered by the way ii plan on going forward off of it,” Nayel said.
No suspects have been identified.
The Council on American-Islamic relations said there is a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.