Investigation After Teacher Allegedly Told Muslim Student ‘We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists’

by : Julia Banim on : 28 Oct 2021 15:19
Investigation After Teacher Allegedly Told Muslim Student 'We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists’Google Maps/Alamy

An investigation is now underway after a teacher from New Jersey allegedly told a Muslim student ‘we don’t negotiate with terrorists’.

The teacher has reportedly been suspended from his position at Ridgefield Memorial High School, Bergen County, after allegedly making the comment within earshot of the rest of the class.


17-year-old high school senior Mohammed Zubi had asked a question about homework during maths class, to which the teacher replied, ‘we don’t negotiate with terrorists’.


Zubi and his fellow classmates were reportedly caught of guard by this comment, and were left feeling shocked.

Speaking with ABC7, Zubi said:


He responded saying, ‘we don’t negotiate with terrorists’, so I look around in shock, there’s people laughing, and there’s other people in shock, and I turn around and ask my friend, ‘did he really just say that?’ and she said yes.

Zubi said he doesn’t feel like going back to school, as he’s been made to feel ‘really uncomfortable’. ‘I don’t want to see anyone, and I’ve been in my room all day – don’t want to see my friends, especially after what that teacher said to me,’ he said.

Although school officials have not confirmed Zubi’s account of the incident, the school district has released the following statement in response:


The Ridgefield School District has absolutely no tolerance for any sort of discrimination against any student or staff member. The District strives to create an inclusive environment where students’ and staff members’ race, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation are embraced.

Although the district ‘cannot legally comment on personnel or student matters’, the teacher in question has been ‘immediately suspended’ pending a full investigation.

As reported by NJ.com, Executive Director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) Selaedin Maksut said:

We are very concerned about these allegations and urge the school district to take appropriate corrective measures following a swift and transparent investigation.

This type of insensitive language by an authority figure is unacceptable because it perpetuates stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims.


Law enforcement authorities have reportedly been notified for ‘assistance’ in this matter, however officers have since determined the alleged remark did not warrant criminal charges.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, New Jersey


ABC7 and 1 other
  1. ABC7

    Remarks directed at Arab American student send shockwaves through NJ high school

  2. NJ.com

    ‘We don’t negotiate with terrorists,’ teacher allegedly told N.J. Muslim student