NCCM ‘relieved’ but ‘unsettled’ by false hate crime report

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – January 15, 2018) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, is relieved but unsettled to learn that an 11-year old Muslim girl’s claim of being attacked by a man who tried to cut her hijab late last week has been found to have not happened after an investigation by the Toronto police service.

The girl had earlier stated she was attacked twice by a man with scissors while walking to school with her younger brother on Friday, January 12, 2018. The story made headline news across the country and rightly sparked condemnation from government officials and human rights organizations. The incident was being investigated by the police as a potential hate crime.

Earlier this morning, Toronto Police issued a statement noting the lack of evidence found to substantiate the girl’s claim, ultimately concluding that the events described in their original news release did not happen.

“While we are relieved that this child was not a victim of a hate crime, the false nature of the claim is unsettling and points to the need for greater education about the seriousness of making false or inaccurate reports to the police, as such reports will not only affect the person making them, but may also affect persons who are in fact targeted by Islamophobic and hateful acts,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

“At this time, we reiterate our support for the investigative process of law enforcement, and we are pleased to note that police investigated this claim swiftly and seriously. This is particularly important in light of the heightened anxieties being felt within many Muslim communities in the lead up to the first anniversary of the Quebec mosque massacre, where six worshippers were killed and many injured during evening prayers,” says Gardee.

* An earlier version of this release included the name of the eleven year old girl. This has been removed to protect her privacy.