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Muslim student says yearbook misnames her as ‘Isis’

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Bayan Zehlif, 17, speaks during a news conference today in Anaheim, Calif. Zehlif posted a photo on Facebook of what she says is her picture with the name “Isis Phillips” underneath it in the Los Osos High School yearbook.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. » A Muslim high school student said today she’s hurt after being mistakenly identified in her Southern California yearbook as “Isis Phillips.”

Bayan Zehlif, a 17-year-old high school senior, said at a press conference with Muslim community advocates that she found it “coincidental” that she was mistaken for a girl whose name is widely associated with a terror group. She was hurt by the error, but even more so after her Los Osos High School classmates blasted her for denouncing it, she said.

“Seeing the yearbook really hurt but seeing my classmates go against me like that hurt even more,” she told reporters at the offices of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Anaheim, Calif.

Mat Holton, Chaffey Joint Union High School District superintendent, said in a statement that Zehlif was misidentified as another student with the first name of Isis.

The other student, who no longer attends the school, also was misidentified in the yearbook on a facing page, Holton said.

He said an investigation is being conducted.

“The families of both students were immediately contacted and offered a sincere apology,” and another apology was offered at a second meeting today with Holton and the school principal, he said.

Yearbook distribution has been halted until the error is fixed and those who already received them have been asked to return them.

“The remaining yearbooks will be corrected before the end of the week and distributed to students,” he said.

Zehlif said she didn’t personally know Isis Phillips, but has heard a girl with that name had attended the school in Rancho Cucamonga. The mix-up occurred on a candid photo, and her class photo lists her name correctly, she said.

Zehlif posted a photo on Facebook of herself in a hijab with the name “Isis Phillips” underneath it as it appears in the yearbook.

Zehlif is not returning to school for now out of fear of a backlash from some of her classmates, but hopes to attend graduation next week as her relatives from Jordan have traveled for the ceremony, she said.

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  • Typo? I can see if her name is Iris and they printed Isis, but her real name is not even close to Isis. Sue job. That’s the only way these bigots going learn.

    • I don’t think it was a typo. It was a candid photo for which they gave names for those who were identified in the photos. It was misidentification with another student.

  • So what?…..she was misidentified with another student whose name is Isis…..she needs to get over it and move on….don’t take it so seriously…..not the end of the world

    • Were you ever a teenager? Such things DO feel like the end of the world. And in today’s climate it’s even worse; imagine the harassment and death threats that could ensue because someone thinks the poor girl was named “Isis.” People who do have the name are facing such harassment, over nothing more than having the same name! As in this instance I found in a story online: “And as if junior high school isn’t hard enough, 14-year-old Isis Brown has the daily hassle of dealing with classmate bullies and potential future GOP presidential contenders calling her a terrorist.” It’s only a matter of time before someone murders someone because she’s named Isis.

      I too think it was deliberate. As a former yearbook staffer, I’m disgusted.

  • whole thing is overblown. most people know who she is so having the wrong name should be no big thing. the school apologized, let it go. yes, some student staffer on the yearbook did it on purpose or just got confused. they are going to spend a lot of money to correct the error. i feel bad for the girl. high school is a tough time. but just move on.

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