To the best of my knowledge, the following is not a joke.
A middle school student in Lewiston, Maine is being investigated by the police for a possible hate crime after he placed a bag containing a ham sandwich on a table where Somali students eat lunch. According to the school's superintendent, Leon Levesque, the student has been suspended, and more disciplinary action could follow pending the outcome of the investigation.
[UPDATE:] I had a chance to follow up on this today at work and the story is true, the local paper's coverage is here. It was done as a prank and while I'd not be sorry to see the idiot teen-aged boy who pulled it suspended for a couple days and made to apologize, I think we'll be very sorry one day that something like this now has to be investigated as a crime.
And the reactions of the Muslim students are so overwrought you could be forgiven for thinking the whole report a satire.
The act reminded students of a man who threw a pig's head into a Lewiston mosque last summer.
"We didn't know what was in this bag," the boy said. "One of my friends reached inside it. It was a big ham steak. There were five of us at the table, all Somali. It was intended for us."
The boy said he looked up at students he thought were his friends. "I felt angered, offended."
He suddenly felt like he was alone. "At the school the next day, I didn't feel safe.
Now, I'm usually very respectful of other peoples' religious beliefs but a theology which teaches its young followers to feel physically threatened by the mere presence of someone else's food is a particularly senseless one. Now, perhaps there is no bullying in Somalia, but the fact that so many Somalis have come here specifically to escape a brutal, decades-long civil war that has killed tens of thousands -- if not hundreds of thousands -- leads me to believe otherwise.
This young Somali man must learn to get a grip if he's to have a normal life and the young American bully must learn to stop it. Once upon a time the school principal could have handled something like this, but just look at the mess we're creating by criminalizing everything in sight.