NJ teacher fired over false ‘Islamophobia’ claims sues Hamas-linked CAIR, says they ‘don’t care about the truth’
BY ROBERT SPENCER
Republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, & research purposes.
The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) shows a reckless disregard for truth and for the well-being of anyone it can use to buttress its “Islamophobia” narrative.
“Fencer and CAIR ‘Clearly Don’t Care About the Truth’ Asserts N.J. Teacher in New Court Filing,” by Steven Emerson, IPT News, April 14, 2023:
Ibtihaj Muhammad made history as the first hijab-clad athlete on the U.S. Olympic team. The bronze medal winning fencer from the 2016 summer games was featured on magazine covers, spawned a line of sportswear and even a Barbie doll.
In October 2021 social media posts, Muhammad accused veteran schoolteacher Tamar Herman of abusing a 7-year-old Muslim student by “forcibly” pulling off her hijab as “the young student resisted.” After exposing the girl’s hair to the class, Herman then told her that “her hair was beautiful and she did not have to wear hijab to school anymore,” Muhammad wrote.
Herman insists that didn’t happen and contacted Muhammad to offer her side of the story. But when Herman, who had Muhammad’s cell phone number, texted to say her post was “completely false and terribly damaging,” Muhammad ignored her. Now, Muhammad says she had no idea who Herman was.
CAIR Blows Up Incident into National Story
The issue generated national attention when the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its New Jersey chapter called for Herman’s firing.
“Our children must be protected from anti-Muslim bigotry and abuse at school,” CAIR’s national office wrote. “The teacher who pulled a second grader’s hijab off in class must be fired immediately.”
“Anything less,” CAIR’s New Jersey chapter added, “is an insult to the students and parents…”
School administrators were overwhelmed by the public response. IPT has seen dozens of social media posts that not only called for Herman’s firing but threatened her safety as well.
Herman hasn’t been allowed back in the classroom since.
Last October, she filed suit in federal court against the South Orange Maplewood school district and a consultant it worked with for their roles in a “malicious and antisemitic campaign” and for violating her due process rights. She also sued Muhammad, CAIR, its New Jersey chapter and its director, Selaedin Maksut, in state court alleging defamation. CAIR moved to dismiss the case in February, saying their statements largely were accurate and, therefore, not defamatory. Muhammad and Maksut embraced CAIR’s filing.
In her response filed Tuesday, Herman argues that none of the parties made any effort to determine if the accusation was true.
“Muhammad, despite her claims to the contrary in support of her motions, knew Herman well and had the ability and opportunity to communicate with Herman about the allegations, yet inexplicably declined to do so,” attorney Erick Dykema writes. “Maksut, CAIR, and CAIR NJ, for their part, clearly didn’t care about the truth—they simply parroted Muhammad’s false accusations without any concern for their accuracy.”
It is too soon for the court to consider the defense motions, Dykema writes. The basic facts are in dispute, and no discovery has taken place which would help determine what is true.
Herman has been teaching for 30 years “with a stellar reputation.”
She insists the entire episode was a misunderstanding. The 7-year-old girl normally wore a form-fitting hijab to class, but on the day in question, she had on a sweatshirt, with the hood covering her eyes during a lesson. Herman asked the girl to pull it back, thinking the hijab was underneath. But when the girl didn’t respond, Herman says she gently brushed the hood back.
When she saw no hijab, Herman says she quickly pulled the hood back into place, covering the child’s hair, and apologized.
Herman would have told this account to Muhammad or CAIR. But she never was given the chance.
“The evidence of actual malice—reckless disregard for the truth—is overwhelming,” Dykema writes. “… Muhammad based her social media posts on a thirdhand account of events emanating from a most unreliable source, that being a young child.”
The girl’s parents, Cassandra and Joseph Wyatt, each have made antisemitic statements about Herman and the incident involving their daughter.
Jews “monopolize a lot of stuff for money,” Joseph Wyatt told the Washington Post. “The Jews — the Semitics — they run Hollywood. They run a lot of stuff. It’s all Jewish names.”
Whatever happened between his daughter and Tamar Herman was about religion, “no doubt,” he said. “There’s always been a conflict with the Muslims and the Jews … That’s why they are fighting in Palestine.”
The teacher may say it was a mistake, he said, but “it was no mistake to her.”
The child’s mother, Cassandra Wyatt, has changed her story and made her own social media posts admitting that her reaction changed once she learned Herman is Jewish. According to Herman’s lawsuit, the girl’s mother initially told the principal that she understood the incident was a misunderstanding. But she quickly changed tone upon learning Herman is Jewish.
” “I JUST FOUND OUT THE TEACHER IS JEWISHHHHHHHHHH ������������� . . . that’s why I believe she did it now I’m furious,” Wyatt wrote.
“A JEWSIH (sic) TEACHER THAT TAUGHT AT A JEWISH SCHOOL & A PUBLIC SCHOOL FOR 30 YEARS PULLED MY MUSLIM 7 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER HIJAB OFF HER HEAD CLAIMING IT WAS A HOODIES” “SHES JEWISH!”
For all of CAIR’s public claims to stand against antisemitism, as we have noted, the fact that it has not said a word about the Wyatts’ demonstrable antisemitism speaks volumes about CAIR’s true views on Jews….