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Muslim teacher stands by account she was told to “hang yourself”

A Muslim Gwinnett County teacher is sticking to her account that she received an anonymous letter last week urging her to hang herself with her headscarf.

Mairiah Teli, a teacher at Dacula High, first shared her story Friday on her Facebook page. Her post and pictures of the letter, signed “America,” quickly made national headlines.

Teli acknowledged in another Facebook post late Monday that she’s heard skepticism about the letter’s authenticity. Some have suggested in social media posts that she wrote the letter, in part, citing news coverage of a Louisiana woman who fabricated a story that she was robbed, beaten and had her hijab ripped off by two men, one of them wearing a white Donald Trump hat.

“To those who question the legitimacy of this incident, I am not sure that there is anything further that I can say or do to prove to you that this occurred,” Teli wrote. “I shared this incident on my Facebook page with family and friends to raise awareness regarding the social climate of our community. As an educator, I firmly believe in community service and strengthening our communities, which can only be done by acknowledging the problems that we face and then standing together to confront them.”

Teli wrote in the post she is declining interview requests.

A school district spokesman said Tuesday it has found no reason to believe the letter was a hoax. Dacula High principal Bryan Long posted a note on the school’s website saying they are looking for the person responsible for sending the note and urged students and faculty to “rally around Ms. Teli.”

Numerous hate crime accounts have been reported since last week’s presidential election. President-elect Donald Trump proposed during the campaign a temporary ban on Muslims entering the nation, citing terrorism concerns.

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