A 14-year-old Muslim teen is recovering after receiving a savage beating at the hands of her peers. Video of the encounter is going viral.
According to police, Manaal Munshi went to a park in Boca Raton, Fla., earlier this week to try to work out her differences with another girl. When she arrived, she found a crowd of students and more than one girl waiting for her.
A video posted on Facebook already has well over 2 million views.
As the video begins, one girl already has Munshi by the hair, spinning her around and throwing punches. As Munshi falls to the ground more girls join in and begin pounding her with their fists. Shouts of “Beat her ass!” and “Pull her hair!” can be heard.
It’s unclear what caused the dispute, or if it was racially or religiously motivated, but an investigation has been launched. Police are denying the attack was a hate crime, saying instead that it was over a boyfriend.
Munshi’s family disagrees, however. They say their daughter has been bullied in the past because of her faith and has been called names like “terrorist.”
“She has bruises on her face. One eye is black — neck, had nails, big nails, on her neck, and there are lots of big bumps on her face, her head,” the girl’s father, Shakeel Munshi, told NBC Miami in a FaceTime interview. “She used to say that they’re making fun of her … that she’s terrorist, kind of thing.”
The superintendent of the Palm Beach county school district, Dr. Robert Avossa, has weighed in, saying in a statement: “I am saddened by this senseless violence. I am further concerned about individuals who stood by to videotape the incident instead of coming to the assistance of their peer by calling 911. As a community, we cannot ever get to a place where we are passive bystanders of such acts. We must expect more from one another and certainly, I expect more from our students,” he said.
Munshi and the girl in the video are from two different schools, West Boca Raton High School and Olympic Heights High School, raising questions whether school rivalries were somehow involved.
The Center for American-Islamic Relations has called for a full investigation into the matter and has reached out to the Munshi family. “We called for a full investigation of these events precisely to clarify the circumstances under which this teenager was hanged [sic] up by other three females. That is why we prefer also the involvement of the State Attorney’s office on this matter,” a CAIR spokesman told Buzzfeed in an interview.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement posted on Facebook that a full investigation into the matter will be conducted with the school board.
Meanwhile, members of the community commenting on the incident are posing questions and raising doubts about the officials’ statements.