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Palastinian Student expelled from FLA high school after his mother made pro-Palestinian posts on social media

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Story by By Alaa Elassar, CNN (Arab/Muslim, per CNN)

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has requested the US Department of Education investigate the expulsion of a Palestinian American high school student over pro-Palestinian content his mother posted on social media.

Jad Abuhamda, 15, was expelled on November 19 from the Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His mother, Dr. Maha Almasri, was fired from her position as a math tutor at the school after she made posts criticizing Israel’s “collective brutality” against Palestinian civilians and children in Gaza during the ongoing war, CAIR said in a Wednesday news release.

The private school issued a statement saying they considered Almasri’s social media posts to be “hateful and incendiary,” which Almasri has denied.
“We viewed some of this individual’s posts — including, for example, an image of a soldier pointing a machine gun at an infant inside of an incubator and an image with commentary suggesting that some wanted to roast babies in an oven — as having the possibility of inciting hatred and creating a climate of fear,” Pine Crest School said. “Her behavior was also such that the School believed it could increase the risk of violence in our community and compromise the safety of our students, employees, and families.”

Almasri told CNN her posts were taken out of context and her son has been subjected to wrongful treatment.

CAIR Florida managing attorney Omar Saleh said during a Thursday news conference they have not received a response from the school to their letters requesting more information on why Jad was expelled. The school responded to CNN’s request for comment with a link to its news release.

“For these reasons, the Student Handbook and enrollment agreement make clear that if a parent engages in behavior that is ‘disruptive, intimidating, or overly aggressive’ or ‘interferes … with the School’s … safety procedures, responsibilities, or the accomplishment of its educational purpose or program,’ the School may take the action that it deems necessary to address the situation,” the school statement said.

CNN has independently viewed the social media posts, which discussed the mounting death toll of children in Gaza, the number of explosives dropped on Gaza, and the history of Palestinians who were “violently expelled from Palestine in 1948 to form the state of Israel.”

One of the photos the school alluded to is a cartoon graphic depicting an Israeli soldier pointing a gun at a baby in an incubator, a metaphorical reference to the premature babies at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, whose incubators stopped working when Israeli airstrikes cut off the generator powering the incubators. At least three of the babies died, according to previous CNN reporting.

Almasri says her posts were referring to the mounting humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where in response to Hamas’ October 7 attack that killed 1,200 people, Israel has launched a siege and war that has killed more than 18,700 Palestinians, 70% of whom are women and children, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza.

“None of my posts were inciting violence, they were merely shedding light on what was happening, the humanitarian crisis that was happening in Gaza,” Almasri said during a CAIR news conference Thursday. “It didn’t call for hate or violence or any of that. I feel that, again, criticizing a government or a set of people should not lead to any retaliation against that person who’s trying to express that and also take it upon themselves to also punish her child.”

Saleh said the group’s call for an investigation is about the expulsion of Jad, who Saleh says did not say or do anything to warrant the expulsion, as well as what CAIR described as inaccurate accusations regarding Almasri’s social media posts.

Jad, who is in 10th grade, has been unable to attend classes since November 19. The expulsion has interrupted his studies and college preparation, his mother told CNN, adding they now have to find a new school.

“He gets very depressed and withdrawn. He doesn’t know what to do with all this time,” Almasri told CNN. “He misses his friends a lot, he misses the school corridors, he misses everything. He’s trying to be strong, but he feels betrayed. At the end of the day, this is about expelling Jad for nothing he did.”

‘It’s almost like a weight lifted off my chest’ Jad, who was born and raised in Florida and grew up at the school, said he had always hidden his Palestinian identity until he was expelled as a result of his mother’s social media posts.

“Most people at Pine Crest had no idea that I was Palestinian, because I never felt safe to say that I was Palestinian at Pine Crest School,” Jad said. “Now that it’s out, it’s almost like a weight lifted off my chest … Now I feel that I can finally come out as who I am, which is a Palestinian kid who was wrongfully expelled by Pine Crest School.”

“Pine Crest School was my home, is a place where I was very comfortable, since 1st grade, since I was six years old,” Jad said during the news conference as he stood next to his mother.

“The friends I made there became family, even the people who I am not as close with there are still my community. They are the people I’ve seen every day of my life for the past 10 years. To have that taken away from me, for no reason at all, is heartbreaking,” he added. “I didn’t do anything at all.”

A petition started by an anonymous person calling for the school to reinstate Jad garnered more than 31,000 signatures in over two weeks and the family has received “overwhelming” support from community members, Almasri said.

“Think about the other Jads in that school and around,” said Abdullah Jaber, executive director of CAIR-Florida. “Our main concern is suppressing the right of Americans to express what they feel within their heart is to be decent human rights.”

The treatment of pro-Palestinians who speak up, Saleh said, is dangerously “one-sided” and the same discipline is not applied to those who post or make pro-Israeli commentary.

Both CAIR representatives and Almasri denied accusations her social media content condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza incited hatred or violence and instead advocated for the rights of Palestinians.

CAIR has recorded more than 2,171 requests for help and reports of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bias in the nine weeks since October 7, including students and faculty being targeted for supporting Palestinian rights.

In Maryland, the advocacy group filed a discrimination complaint on behalf of a Black Muslim, Arab American teacher who was placed on administrative leave for her email signature, which included “from the river to the sea,” a controversial phrase supporting Palestinian rights.

By requesting a DOE investigation into Jad’s expulsion and the accusations made against Almasri based on her posts, CAIR said it hopes to protect other Arabs, Muslims, and pro-Palestinian people from receiving unfair punishment for condemning Israel’s actions.

CNN has reached out to the Department of Education for comment on the request.

“We have to get real. Speech because it’s sympathetic to Palestinians or because it’s critical to Israeli military or because it evokes a sense of conscience for humanity, it doesn’t make it antisemitic, it doesn’t make it anti-Jewish, it’s not disruptive and it’s not inciteful,” Saleh said. “You can wish peace to Israel and say free Palestine at the same time.”

REBUTTAL:

Screenshot from footage taken in Gaza NICU showing a stashed gun hidden in an incubator.

 

Swords_of_Iron

Footage from Gaza hospital: Weapons hidden in infant incubators
Hospital workers admit: Weapons hidden in NICU incubators intended to treat premature babies.

It would seem that that “paragon” of Journalism (insert LMAO meme here), CNN, is on the same side as this woman. This isn’t surprising; after all, the reporter is also a Muslim. An Egyptian -Palestinian, to be exact.

I couldn’t find the actual cartoons — for some strange reason, nobody has reposted them. Yet, there are at least four major listings for this story.

And isn’t it strange how this arrogant woman thought she could get away with posting libelous cartoons in a conservative state with a large Jewish population? And isn’t it also strange that the boy was “afraid to admit he was Palestinian?

I also have to question the claim: “A petition started by an anonymous person calling for the school to reinstate Jad garnered more than 31,000 signatures in over two weeks…” I would love to know how many of the IP addresses associated with these “signatures” come from outside Florida and how many of them come from OUTSIDE the USA.

Israel has launched a siege and war that has killed more than 18,700 Palestinians, 70% of whom are women and children, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza.
After it’s been shown that Hamas has been using hospitals as “Human Shields” for C & C centers and weapons storage, why would anyone with more than two brain cells believe anything they post?
Iranian protesters burn an Israeli flag during an anti-Israel rally at Enqelab-e Eslami (Islamic Revolution) Square. (Sobhan Farajvan via Getty Images)

— TPR

 

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