A former University of Missouri teaching assistant allegedly pulled a teenage relative out of her high school by her hair and assaulted her for not wearing a hijab, police said.
Youssif Z. Omar, 53, was arrested Wednesday for the alleged child abuse at Hickman High School, the Columbia Tribune reported.
Police said Omar was at the school around 3 p.m. Tuesday and noticed a 14-year-old family member who was not wearing a hijab, a traditional headscarf worn by many Muslim women.
Omar flew into a frenzy, “violently” grabbing her hair and yanking her down a flight of stairs and out of the school, police said. He then allegedly pulled her into his car and slapped her.
Omar was arrested at his Columbia home the next day on suspicion of felony child abuse, police said. He was released from jail on $4,500 bond.
The condition of the teenage relative is unknown. Omar did not return requests for comment.
Omar was an adjunct instructor in Mizzou’s Department of German and Russian Studies and a research assistant until July, school spokesman Christian Basi told the Daily News. A Benghazi native, Omar was also an editor of the school’s student culture journal, Artifacts. As of Monday, Omar is still listed as a faculty member on the school’s website.
The school did not say why Omar left or if he faced any administrative problems while working there.
In an editor’s note for the August issue of Artifacts, Omar wrote about the need to accept other peoples’ cultures and remain open-minded about one’s own.
“It is very hard for some people to be away from their own culture because they find themselves confined to the deep-rooted beliefs and customs they acquired and learned from the communities in which they were born and raised,” he wrote.
“Such people see themselves as fish taken away from the water.”
It will be interesting to see if the University of Missouri reprimands this professor at the very least. Preferably, he should be fired. He did this in front of other school children and no doubt frightened them. Witnessing incidents like this can be traumatizing and cause irreparable damage to a child’s psyche.
This not only exhibited violent behavior, it also shows a lack of compassion, character and reasoning ability. This is not the type of person who should be teaching students. He is a poor role model. Who knows what goes on in his classroom. It’s possibly he is verbally abusive to his students. Few, no doubt, would complain for fear of retribution from the school of being intolerant. It’s also possible the school would take no action anyway. I have to wonder if this was a Caucasian teacher, would the reaction be the same? We are teaching our kids that it is ok for some to act a certain way and for others it is bad behavior.