A Benghazi native who recently served as a teaching assistant at the University of Missouri was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child abuse after police said he “very violently” pulled a 14-year-old female relative out of school by her hair because she wasn’t wearing a Muslim headscarf, the Columbia Tribune reported.
Youssif Z. Omar pulled the female relative down a flight of stairs and outside of Hickman High School on Tuesday when he noticed she was not wearing a hijab, Officer Latisha Stroer said in an email to the Tribune. Omar is also accused of slapping the girl’s face, Stroer said.
Omar has posted a $4,500 bond and was released from Boone County Jail.
Omar is listed on the University’s website as a graduate teaching assistant of Arabic and the managing editor of the undergraduate journal “Artifacts.” He received a Bachelors Degree in translation and several Masters Degrees while in Libya and obtained PhDs in English Education, Linguistics and Translation Studies while at the University of Missouri from 2008-2013, according to his LinkedIn page.
“It is very hard for some people to be away from their own culture because they find themselves confined to the deep-rooted beliefs and customs they acquired and learned from the communities in which they were born and raised,” Omar wrote in an Editor’s Introduction for the August edition of “Artifacts.” “Such people see themselves as fish taken away from the water.”
The University of Missouri campus was the scene of several days of protests in November due to the perceived racial inequality felt by some students. The demonstrations, which included one student’s hunger strike, resulted in the resignations of University of Missouri system President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The original version of this story included the information -- based on the University of Missouri website -- that Youssif Z. Omar is currently a graduate teaching assistant at the university. Initial calls to the school were not returned, but a school spokesperson has now confirmed that Omar has not been with the university since July.