A University of Michigan student claimed last month that a man had threatened to set her on fire unless she removed her hijab. Now police say the story was a hoax. From the Detroit Free Press:
According to a statement from the Ann Arbor Police Department, detectives worked along with the U-M Division of Public Safety and the FBI to investigate the case, which had been classified as ethnic intimidation.
“Investigators conducted witness interviews and reviewed multiple surveillance videos of the area in question,” the department said. “During the course of the investigation, numerous inconsistencies in the statements provided by the alleged victim were identified. Following a thorough investigation, detectives have determined the incident in question did not occur.”
The student, who has not been identified yet, could face charges for filing a false police report. She originally claimed the incident took place on Novermber 11th, just a few days after the election. Here is how the Free Press reported it at the time:
Ann Arbor police are looking for a man who demanded that a University of Michigan student remove her hijab, a headscarf often worn by Muslim women, or be set on fire with a lighter.
The woman complied, according to a crime alert from the university’s division of public safety.
The university, calling it a hate crime, said the off-campus incident occurred between 5:30-7 p.m. Friday in the 600 block of East William, near State Street, according to the alert…
Police describe the suspect as a man age 20 to 30, with an average height and athletic build, bad body odor and an unkempt appearance.
The “bad body odor” is a nice detail. Naturally, the Council on American Islamic Relations connected the alleged incident to President-elect Trump. “Our nation’s leaders, and particularly President-elect Donald Trump, need to speak out forcefully against the wave of anti-Muslim incidents sweeping the country after Tuesday’s election,” CAIR Michigan’s executive director Dawud Walid said at the time.
At least two other reports involving Muslim college students who were allegedly targeted for wearing a hijab have turned out to be hoaxes. Most recently, 18-year-old Yasmin Seweid of New York was charged with filing a false report after she admitted to police she had made up an account of harassment on the subway by three white men who, she claimed, called her a terrorist and mentioned Trump’s name.
Similarly, last month a University of Louisiana at Lafayette student claimed two men, one in a Trump hat, beat her and knocked her down before running off with her wallet and hijab. The ACLU immediately condemned the incident, which allegedly took place the day after the election. The woman later admitted to police she had fabricated the claim.
A few weeks ago NBC News put together this report featuring a Muslim woman on the University of Michigan campus talking about her response to the election of Donald Trump. The video highlights the claim (now shown to be a hoax) about a woman on campus being threatened for wearing a hijab. Note that there is nothing connecting the woman interviewed in this clip to the false report described above. Police have not yet released the identity of the woman who made the false report: