Haines City police file no charges in bully case involving Muslim girl's hijab

HAINES CITY, Fla. - Haines City Police Department announced Monday night it will not file charges in the case of a 14-year-old girl who claims classmates bullied and assaulted her for wearing her religious headdress to high school.

Zahrah Habibulla told ABC Action News last month she was repeatedly bullied at Ridge Community High School because she started wearing a religious head scarf.

"I dress like this because I have to," said Zahrah Habibulla, a freshman.  "It is part of my religion."
 
Tonight, Zahrah's mother, Zameena, expressed her disappointed with detectives.
 
"We still have to worry, we have to fear for her life," explained Zameena.
 
Zameena feels detectives needed to dig deeper into her daughter's case.
 
"I was just shocked.  I didn't know what to say you know," Zameena recalled of hearing from police that charges would not be filed.
 
Zahrah told ABC Action News classmates began verbally harassing her in early December. She said some of the bullies were friends who turned on her once she started wearing the head scarf.
 
She recalled one incident involving a boy who she said yelled at her, “Yo, we’ve got some terrorists here.”
 
"He wrapped a scarf around his head and said, 'I am an Arab. I am an Arab. I am going to shoot you," Zahrah said on February 27.

Police said after interviewing both Zahrah and the accused teens they could not find enough evidence to warrant charges.

"To the charge of battery, there is simply not enough evidence to support that any contact was made between Zahrah and her [alleged bullies]," a police report stated. "Even if there was physical contact that could be proven, we must be able to prove that the [alleged bully] intentionally stepped on Zahrah’s foot or caused her harm."

Zahrah said the teens have not been giving her a problem recently.

However, Zameena said the family has contacted an attorney.

"It is not over.  We contacted CAIR," she said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a non-profit established in 2001 to challenge the stereotypes of Islam and Muslim and defend civil liberties.

Police pointed out they were not investigating bullying in this case but allegations of assault, harassment and stalking.

School leaders declined to comment on the investigation but maintain student welfare is a top priority.

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