A 10-year-old Muslim boy who attends school in Lancashire, England was questioned by police for writing that he lives in a “terrorist house” instead of a “terraced house,” the BBC reports.
The boy, whose identity is being concealed, was reported by his teachers in compliance with the country’s Counter-Terrorism and Security Act of 2015, which encourages schools to report anyone “suspected of involvement in terrorism.”
The boy’s family expressed their surprise and offense of the child’s questioning, saying they originally thought it was “a joke.”
“You can imagine it happening to a 30-year-old man, but not to a young child,” the boy’s cousin told the BBC. “If the teacher had any concerns it should have been about his spelling.”
“They shouldn’t be putting a child through this,” the cousin said. “He’s now scared of writing, using his imagination.”
The boy was questioned and the family’s computer was searched resulting in the family’s demand of an apology from the police.
This incident is strikingly similar to one that occurred in Texas in September where a 14-year-old Muslim boy named Ahmed Mohamed “built” a homemade clock that teachers believed was a bomb. Mohamed was arrested and released in an experience that left him “severely traumatized.”
Mohamed’s “trauma” later earned him personal invitations to the White House from President Obama, the Facebook headquarters from Mark Zuckerberg, and the Google Science Fair.
The teachers of the Lancashire elementary school are now being criticized for racial profiling and overreacting to an innocent mistake. This event occurs after President Obama and many other political leaders have urged people, “If you see something suspicious, say something.”
The “see something, say something” policy is especially relevant in wake of the tragic San Bernardino shootings in which the neighbor of Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik did not report suspicious activity in fear of “racially profiling.”