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Parents say son was tormented for eating salami sandwich during Ramadan


The Daily Telegraph

November 13, 2009 12:01am

Helen Grigoriou comforts her son Antonios who was allegedly beaten by Muslim students at his school. Picture: Jeff Herbert
  • Boy "chased, assaulted by Muslim students"
  • Was eating salami during Ramadan
  • Parents withdraw boy from the school

A SYDNEY couple has withdrawn their two children from a public primary school, claiming their 11-year-old son was bullied by Muslim students because he ate a salami sandwich during Ramadan. 

Andrew Grigoriou said yesterday he complained to the school and to police after his son Antonios was chased and later assaulted by Muslim students after a confrontation over the contents of his lunch, The Daily Telegraphreports.

Antonios, a Year 5 student of Greek-Australian background at Punchbowl Public School in Sydney's southwest, said he and a friend had to be locked inside the library for an hour after being chased by a group of Muslim boys offended by his choice of food while they were fasting.

The Grigoriou family said the following exchange took place:

Muslim student to Antonios: "Why are you eating ham, it's Ramadan?" 

Muslim student: "Don't eat that. How can you eat pig, it's disgusting."

During the confrontation a Muslim boy allegedly accused Antonios of saying: "F--- the Muslims" but Antonios denied swearing. 

Mr Grigoriou said he removed his son and a younger child from the school on Tuesday after the boy was punched in the eye and kicked in the legs by a Muslim student.

"It has broken my heart to see this happening to my boy," he said. Antonios, who wrote about his experiences in words and drawings, still has nightmares.

The Department of Education and Training said it had a zero tolerance policy towards racism.

"Claims of bullying or racial intolerance are taken very seriously and looked into," a spokeswoman said. "The School Education Director is looking into the matter and called the father concerned.

"As a result ... the school will work with all families and students involved to ensure that the values promoted by Punchbowl Public School and the department are understood and supported."

After the salami sandwich incident a student described as "the ringleader of the group" was suspended from the school. The department said that the school had "ongoing cultural and interfaith awareness programs to improve understanding among students of events like Ramadan and Christmas".

Other parents also complained to The Daily Telegraph about bullying at the school and claimed victims received too little protection.

One said her 12-year-old son was scared to open his lunch box at school because he was harassed about what is in it. "He has been bullied from day one ... about being a Christian and about the hot salami in his lunch," she said.

"My boy has a Greek background ... the bullying is extreme.

"He has been called a fat pig and hit on the back with a stick."

Another mother said her young son refused to go on school excursions for fear he would be bashed. 

jackiered jackiered 6 years 28 weeks
so true :fogey:
Grandpa Grandpa 6 years 28 weeks
I have never heard of throwing a good apple into a barrel of bad apples, and getting a barrel of good apples out of it.
cheekyredhead cheekyredhead 6 years 28 weeks
School systems have become so polarized into the "politically right" POV that it is ridiculous. In our district they redrew the lines so that there would be a "equally diverse monetary spread" in each school...which means my kids are now a minority that is viewed as the "rich kids" and constantly picked on, mugged and our neighbors son had his sneakers stolen off his feet. After a death threat they finally let me move my son to another school. It took a death threat...ridiculous. They did nothing to the kids who "threaten" and the teachers are afraid of them too. In California it is not so much a religious divide but a racial one. I understand why the school district redid the boundaries but that does not mean it was a good idea. Now the trouble makers are in every school when they used to be in just one.
Eleuthera Eleuthera 6 years 28 weeks
There's no way to win, at this point, unless you see people really stand up and start saying that their ameliorating behavior has been wrong. Western society has bent over backwards to allow Muslims their way... and now they have taken far more than their share. I say, "No more!" You see similar things with bullies in the US .. and it is FAR more than is ever reported. Anyone who is standing out or a loner is accosted and abused.. and the results are that it isn't pretty. the sad point is that it isn't restricted just to the boys. Girls suffer far more in my estimation. The important thing is to stop allowing such aberrant behavior anywhere: time to instill absolute concepts of right and wrong again.. and enforce them.
Grandpa Grandpa 6 years 28 weeks
how about suspending all the boys that took part in the chase and assault?
cheekyredhead cheekyredhead 6 years 28 weeks
The "ring leader" was suspended...which sometimes just empowers others to react of his behalf. This is clearly racist which means we have to ignore it because of "who" they are? Crazy.
UnDave35 UnDave35 6 years 28 weeks
Since I've read that the "other, peaceful" religion hasn't really stopped fighting the crusades, maybe a resurrection is in order.
samantha999 samantha999 6 years 28 weeks
i agree but its a catch 22. you turn the other cheek they smack that as well. you respond in kind you are resurrecting the crusades.
UnDave35 UnDave35 6 years 28 weeks
Well, IMO, it's time to stop turning the other cheek, and respond in kind. It's becoming more and more obvious that these people are bullies, and do not respond to reasoned, rational thinking.
samantha999 samantha999 6 years 28 weeks
Because they say so Dave.
UnDave35 UnDave35 6 years 28 weeks
This is clearly the Christian Boy's fault. He shouldn't have been eating where those other poor Muslims were busy fasting. (sarcasm) Why is it that we Christians are expected to show tolerance to a religion that clearly does not?
tiff58 tiff58 6 years 28 weeks
I know, that's what I was thinking, because the article says that all of the families involved are being worked with.
samantha999 samantha999 6 years 28 weeks
i don't know - probably not since that would be a show of islamapbobia
tiff58 tiff58 6 years 28 weeks
Please tell me that these other boys were suspended.
skb9850 skb9850 6 years 28 weeks
Where are the parents of these bullies? Why aren't they teaching thier kids to respect others?
samantha999 samantha999 6 years 28 weeks
if you want to fast, then fast but don't tell others they need to follow your way or else.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 6 years 28 weeks
even if the kid said "f the muslims" he didnt deserve to be beaten.