Photo: Ms. Yasmin Seweid; source Twitter
A woman of Muslim faith claimed three men screaming “Donald Trump!” attacked her on New York City subway and tried to pull off her hijab earlier this month—but she has since admitted the incident never occurred, and has been arrested for filing a false police report.
On Dec. 1, Ms. Yasmin Seweid told police that three white men attacked her while she was riding a New York City subway. Seweid initially claimed the men were screaming “Donald Trump!” and called her “a terrorist” according to a New York Times news report.
According to other news sources, Seweid also claimed on Facebook that the attackers also yelled, “Get the hell out of the country! … You don’t belong here!” Her Facebook page appears to have been removed.
Seweid reported that as the incident unfolded, she tried to avoid the three men and moved to the other end of the subway car, but the men allegedly followed her—and then tried to pull off her hijab (a head scarf worn by women in observance of Muslim religious tradition).
The Hate Crime That Never Happened
However, Seweid recanted her story on Tuesday. She said that she was having problems with her family and made up the story about the attack to get attention.
She has now been charged with filing a false police report, and obstructing governmental administration, both misdemeanor offenses.
Filing a False Police Report Is a Crime
And while the foolishness of her actions could be explained by her young age, her allegations could pose far more serious implications for already complicated Muslim-American relations.
The New York Times report also cites remarks from Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who cautioned that, “Whenever there are these rare instances of alleged false reports—it’s still an allegation at this point—it’s used by the growing Islamophobic community to delegitimize and undermine the many legitimate anti-Muslim incidents.”
However, Hooper’s remarks appear to overlook an important aspect of “the girl who cried wolf pack” paradox: Seweid’s alleged story—and her allegedly false report—can foster the very kind “Islamaphobia” she claims had victimized her.
And ultimately—putting all matters of religious and political rhetoric aside—claiming to be the victim of a hate crime, or any crime, and filing a false police report is a criminal offense practically everywhere throughout the nation.
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