Religion

Woman Falsely Claimed She Was Forced To Remove Hijab

| by Sarah Zimmerman

Police detectives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, confirm that a woman fabricated a story in which she said she was forced to remove her hijab after a man threatened to set her on fire.

The unnamed woman claimed that on Nov. 11, she was approached by a man who demanded she remove her hijab or else he would set her on fire with a lighter. The woman complied and was able to leave the area unharmed, according to WDIV.

The alleged incident occurred near the University of Michigan campus, prompting school administrators to issue a security alert, warning students to be aware of their surroundings. The story left many students angered and disgusted that hate crimes were prevalent on campus.

Student body president David Schaefer said in a Facebook post that he would be meeting with campus police and housing security representatives to discuss the matter.

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"This will not go unrecognized nor will this be forgotten," said Schaefer, according to student newspaper The Michigan Daily.

Police officials now say the entire report was fabricated. Detectives from the Ann Arbor Police Department, in conjunction with UMPD and FBI investigators, reviewed a number of surveillance videos of the area during the time of the alleged incident and could not find the reported hate crime. Witness interviews also brought to light inconsistencies in the case, leading officials to determine the incident did not occur.

It is unclear whether the woman will face charges for filing a false police report. 

On Dec. 14, another woman was arrested for fabricating a story that claimed she was attacked on a New York City subway and that the attackers tried to remove her hijab, according to BuzzFeed News.

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Yasmin Seweid, 18, filed a police report saying three drunk men approached her on the subway and attempted to tear off her hijab, yelling President-elect Donald Trump's name. 

Seweid made a Facebook post about the alleged incident saying that "Trump America is real and I witnessed it first hand last night."

She claimed that the men called her a "terrorist" and told her to "get the hell out of the country." Her Facebook account has since been deleted.

Police spent "significant NYPD resources" trying to verify her story, but could not find surveillance video or eye-witness testimony. Seweid has been arrested for obstructing government administration and for reporting a false incident. 

Hate crimes toward Muslims and other minorities have been on the rise since the Nov. 8 election. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that more than 800 hate crime reports were filed within the first 10 days following the election. 

 Sources: WDIV (2), The Michigan Daily, BuzzFeed News / Photo credit: calamity_sal/Flickr

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