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Arab American Principal Defends Diversity, Faces Backlash from Parents #FalafelFighters

posted on: Nov 16, 2016

In response to the popular series #HummusHaters, which highlights those who vilify the Arab American community and calls on them to try a taste of our culture, Arab America presents #FalafelFighters. Those who fight against anti-Arab bigotry, Islamophobia, and discrimination towards Arab Americans are Falafel Fighters who stand by our side. Falafel Fighters are the Arab and non-Arab Americans who embrace our culture through tolerance, kindness, and love of the classic Arab dish falafel.

BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer

Over a hundred parents and students attended a Grosse Pointe School Board meeting on Monday night to show support for Moussa Hamka, the principal of Grosse Pointe South High School. Hamka, an Arab American Muslim, was attacked last week by some parents who did not agree with the message of respect and inclusion he delivered to students following the presidential election.

The day after the election, several students who had been bullied or worried about students prompting hate approached Hamka. As a result, Hamka made a lengthy announcement, where he called for respect, diversity appreciation, and unity among his students.

In his speech, Hamka said: “Please know we remain committed to fighting bigotry. I stand by our Muslim families, our gay students, our black families, our female students, our Mexican families. I stand by our disabled students, our immigrants, our Native American students. I will fight for your rights.”

Moussa Hamka at the School Board meeting stayed in the back and declined to speak.

These words sparked outrage among some parents who called for the principal to be fired. At the School Board meeting, the superintendent and board members stood by Hamka, who declined to speak that night. According to WXYZ Detroit, angry parents were also in attendance, but declined to speak or identify themselves.

Students at the meeting spoke in defense of their principal; some of them even recalled moments when they were bullied as a result of the elections. Educators across the country have been commenting on the hate rhetoric and violence they’ve seen in schools since Donald Trump won the election last Tuesday.

Hamka’s decision to show solidarity with the minority students who were attacked by both the Trump campaign and fellow students was an honorable one. Many think it’s a no-brainer to support inclusion and respect within schools, but some parents believe otherwise. Hopefully, Hamka may continue his fight to prevent hate incidents in his school so that all children can feel safe and tolerant of each other’s differences.

Perhaps the parents who think announcements about being nice to each other are inappropriate should try some falafel. The filling side dish is sure to get these parents in the mood to fight for the rights of all people and earn the title of “Falafel Fighters”!