updated 3/31/2011 9:00:13 PM ET 2011-04-01T01:00:13

A 12-year-old boy accused of trying to rip the head scarf off a Muslim classmate during recess has been charged in New York City with a hate crime.

The boy appeared Thursday in family court with his father and his lawyer. He's a 6th-grader at a Staten Island middle school and is being charged as a juvenile. A call to his lawyer wasn't immediately returned. The boy's father says his son is also a Muslim.

Police and school officials say the boy has a history of harassing the 13-year-old girl, taunting her and threatening her on at least four separate occasions.

The police report says he asked, "Are you Muslim?" while trying to remove her scarf.

The girl suffered minor injuries. If convicted, he faces 18 months in juvenile detention.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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