A young Muslim female student at the University of Michigan fabricated a story that an unidentified man threatened to set her clothing on fire on November 11. The young Muslim woman was wearing traditional Muslim garb or hijab at the time. Police announced recently that she may face charges after they discovered that she had fabricated the event.
The Ann Arbor Police Department detectives worked in conjunction with campus police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The incident had been classified as ethnic intimidation. Islam is not an ethnicity, but a political and religious ideology.
Investigators conducted witness interviews and reviewed multiple surveillance videos of the area in question, according to the police 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, according to police.
University authorities identified the incident as a hate crime, and said that it occurred near campus but not on university property. While the police say that the woman may face charges, she remains unidentified.
As in many such instances, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a demand that the incident be investigated as a hate crime, while saying that the “alleged attack is just the latest anti-Muslim incident reported since the election of Donald Trump as president.” The student's story came when similar stories of intimidation hit the airwaves after the election of Donald Trump, who has come under concerted criticisms from Muslim advocacy groups and progressives for supposed Islamophobia.
CAIR has been linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has long advocated for Islamic government in the Middle East. U.S. Representatives Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), and Paul Broun (R-Ga.) wrote Attorney General Eric Holder in 2009 about their concern that CAIR was tied to terrorist groups. They requested that the Department of Justice (DOJ) provide a summary of its evidence and findings that led the department to name CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial. CAIR has been pursuing claims by hijab-wearing women since at least 1994, and was involved in the controversy over erecting a mosque near the 9/11 site in New York City.
A similar claim made by a Muslim woman in New York City last week has also been revealed to be a hoax. Yasmin Seweid has been arrested for making the false report and obstructing governmental administration.
Stories that came out about alleged acts against Muslims were widely carried by various media. For example, USA Today carried a story entitled, "Post-election spate of hate crimes worse than post-9/11, experts say." Ibrahim Hooper of the CAIR's national office CAIR said in the wake of the election that the number of complaints had shown an increase. "It's kind of a very tense time for the American Muslim community and people are really anxious about the future," Hooper said. "I would call it a spike but it's too early to quantify." Hooper added, "We already had been worse based on the fact that Donald Trump had mainstreamed Islamophobia ... and this was just taking it off the charts."
These two reports of hoaxes perpetrated by Muslims has caused concern among Muslim advocacy groups. According to the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) is worried that these “few false reports” will “unfairly discredit and delegitimize the dozens of real anti-Muslim hate crimes and instances Islamophobia out there.” MPAC spokesperson Rabiah Ahmed told ABC today that when one Muslim makes a false report, "it’s often looked upon as if the whole community is responsible for it, and it’s saddening.”
Today, Hooper told ABC News that he believes that such false reports are "statistically inevitable." Hooper such that these false reports are a function of what he said was the "tremendous spike" in "anti-Muslim hate crimes in recent weeks, particularly after the November election." He added, “These false reports, unfortunately, give ammunition to the industry of Islamophobes who promote the demonization and dehumanization of Islamic Muslims.” Hopper added, “But one or two false reports should not take away from the credibility of dozens of other real ones.”
Ahmed said that Muslim young people are "going through a variety of issues" that could "lead someone to not tell the truth, exaggerate or report a false crime.”
“We, as a community, need to do our best to try and make sure our people are supported and that we’re verifying claims before they’re shared,” Ahmed said. “But at the same time, we really are facing an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment and hate crimes, and we need to shed a light on these issues and challenges.”
At 1:56 minutes in the following Al Jazeera video, Dawud Walid -- the director of CAIR's Michigan branch -- repeats the claim that "hate crimes" against Muslims and mosques have increased since the election of Donald Trump.