Muslim Student Misnamed 'Isis' In High School Yearbook

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By: Lee Moran


A Muslim student says she is "saddened" and "disgusted" after being misnamed as "Isis" in her California high school's yearbook.


Bayan Zehlif, who attends Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga, was incorrectly identified as "Isis Phillips" below her portrait in the keepsake tome.


Isis used to be a popular girl's name, and in that context means "supreme goddess." But the term is now more commonly linked with the self-styled terrorist network Islamic State, which is also known by the name ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).


The 17-year-old senior posted a picture of the page to Facebook on Friday. The photograph is now going viral.


"I am extremely saddened, disgusted, hurt and embarrassed that the Los Osos High School yearbook was able to get away with this," she wrote. "Apparently I am 'Isis' in the yearbook."


Zehlif said school officials "reached out" to her and tried to explain it was simply "a typo." "I beg to differ," she added. "Let's be real."


A total of 287 yearbooks were distributed to seniors before the error was spotted, according to Chaffey Joint Union High School District Superintendent Mat Holton. They are now being recalled.


Trevor Santellan, a student who helped put together the yearbook, told ABC7 Eyewitness News that a fellow student named Isis Phillips had actually attended the school. But it's not clear whether she still does.


Holton added that both Zehlif and Phillips' families have been contacted, and an investigation into the incident is ongoing. "If they find that a student acted irresponsibly and intentionally, administration will take appropriate actions," he told the Los Angeles Times.


Yearbook organizers tweeted this apology:

"We are extremely sorry for what occurred in the yearbook," the tweet said. "We should have checked each name carefully in the book, and we had no intention to create this misunderstanding."


The high school's principal, Susan Petrocelli, also took to Twitter to acknowledge the severity of the issue and offer up remorse:

A statement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Zehlif had suffered "a great deal of emotional and psychological distress" from the incident and would not be returning to school "until the issue is resolved appropriately."


"We join with the family in their concern about a possible bias motive for this incident and in the deep concern for their daughter's safety as a result of being falsely labeled as a member of a terrorist group," said the CAIR Los Angeles Executive Director Hussam Ayloush via a statement posted to Facebook on Sunday. "No student should have to face the humiliation of being associated with a group as reprehensible as ISIS."

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