In a puff piece posted last Thursday, ABC News fretted that the current wave of fake hate crimes reported by Muslims might diminish the community as a whole. Buried in the report is a statement by Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who said that Muslims are “under great psychological stress and tension right now, and that that in itself can cause mental health issues that lead to these types of incidents.”
After two reports of anti-Muslim hate crimes were determined to be fake by authorities this month, the Muslim community is concerned that these “few false reports” are going to “unfairly discredit and delegitimize the dozens of real anti-Muslim hate crimes and instances Islamophobia out there,” according to the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).
“The way our community is treated in the media is unfortunately very monolithic,” MPAC spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed told ABC News today. “When one person acts out — whether it’s making a false report or some other type of bad behavior — it’s often looked upon as if the whole community is responsible for it, and it’s saddening.”
One recent false report was made in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where a woman fabricated a hate crime incident in November, city police announced on Wednesday.
The network added:
The woman, whom police are not naming at this time, alleged at the time that a man approached her near the University of Michigan campus and threatened to set her on fire if she did not remove her hijab, according to a spokesman for the Ann Arbor Police Department.
After poring over multiple surveillance videos, and after interviewing multiple witnesses, investigators determined “the incident in question did not occur,” the police department spokesman told ABC News today. He added that the results of the investigation have been forwarded to the county’s prosecutor’s office, which will determine whether the woman will face charges.
In a separate case in New York City, police arrested an 18-year-old woman named Yasmin Seweid on charges of filing a false report and obstructing governmental administration, according to ABC’s New York station WABC.
Hooper said the false reports are “statistically inevitable when you have such a large pool of reports.”
He wasn’t finished:
“These false reports unfortunately give ammunition to the industry of Islamophobes who promote the demonization and dehumanization of Islamic Muslims,” he said. “But one or two false reports should not take away from the credibility of dozens of other real ones.”
Hooper also told ABC News that the Muslim community “is under great psychological stress and tension right now, and that that in itself can cause mental health issues that lead to these types of incidents.”
Ahmed echoed Hooper, saying that “we have youth going through a variety of issues” and “the community isn’t immune to all the societal pressures out there that could lead someone to not tell the truth, exaggerate or report a false crime.”
So what has happened recently to cause this mental distress? The only thing we can point to is the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
“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 further 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.”
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