A 12-year-old boy in New York has been charged with a hate crime after he tried to rip the headscarf off a female Muslim classmate.
The boy appeared in family court in New York City with his father and lawyer, where his father pointed out that his son, a student of a Staten Island middle school, is also Muslim.
However, police and school official accuse the boy of carrying out a systematic campaign of bullying against the girl, harassing and taunting her on at least four previous occasions.
“Are you Muslim?” the boy reportedly asked while trying to remove her headscarf.
If convicted, the boy will face up to 18 months in juvenile detention.
The case will likely raise questions for many over how appropriate certain laws are when applied to children. In many parts of the United States, for example, a child can be charged as a sex offender for viewing, creating or distributing indecent images of children their own age.