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Muslim high-schooler wearing hijab identified as ‘Isis’ in her yearbook

Bayan Zehlif was mistakenly identified as “Isis” in her high school yearbook.
Bayan Zehlif was mistakenly identified as “Isis” in her high school yearbook. Twitter

Shock doesn’t even begin to describe what Bayan Zehlif felt when she saw a photo of herself in her California high school yearbook.

The informal snapshot shows the Muslim teen smiling. She’s also wearing a hijab.

The caption under the photo identified has as “Isis Phillips.”

“I guess I’m Isis in the yearbook,” Zehlif wrote when she posted the mistake on Twitter.

She wrote more on her Facebook page.

“I am extremely saddened, disgusted, hurt and embarrassed that the Los Osos High School yearbook was able to get away with this,” she wrote. “The school reached out to me and had the audacity to say that this was a typo. I beg to differ, let’s be real.”

Officials at Los Osos in Rancho Cucamonga, who said they are investigating the incident, apologized and characterized the slip as a case of mistaken identity.

According to CBS Los Angeles, Principal Susan Petrocelli, who apologized on Twitter on Saturday, told Islamic Monthly that a student named Isis Phillips used to attend Los Osos and is still enrolled in the district.

“If they find that a student acted irresponsibly and intentionally, administration will take appropriate actions,” Mat Holton, superintendent of Chaffey Joint Union High School District, told the Los Angeles Times. “The school will assure students, staff and the community that this regrettable incident in no way represents the values, or beliefs, of Los Osos High School.”

The yearbook staff also apologized, saying it had “no intention to create this misunderstanding.”

The CBS affiliate reported that Zehlif’s parents are angry and believe their daughter is the victim of an anti-Muslim slur.

“We join with the family in their concern about a possible bias motive for this incident and in the deep concern for their daughter’s safety as a result of being falsely labeled as a member of a terrorist group,” Hussam Ayloush, executive director of Greater Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement.

“No student should have to face the humiliation of being associated with a group as reprehensible as ISIS.”

A report by CAIR revealed that more than half of Muslim students in California say they’ve been bullied because of their religion.

The group wants the incident to be investigated and for punishments to be given if necessary. Zehlif’s family intends to keep her at home until the situation is resolved.

One student who worked on the yearbook staff called Zehlif’s reaction “out of proportion” to what he described as an honest mistake.

“We have a campus of 3200 students. Their are going to be imperfections (sic)," the student, Trevor Santellan, told the New York Daily News in a Twitter message.

“If anything, she's being racist against herself because she misinterpreted it and not us," Santellan wrote. “Because we thought of it as a beautiful name that parents gave to a kid. She obviously didn't.”

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