After a thorough investigation, Toronto police have concluded that an assault claim made by a young Muslim girl and her family was fabricated.
“We had, as everyone knows, allegations of an extremely serious crime on Friday which we investigated — we had a team of investigators who put together a significant amount of evidence and they came to the conclusion that the events that were alleged did not happen,” Toronto Police Service spokesperson Mark Pugash told CTV News.
The investigation came after Khawlah Noman, an 11-year-old girl who lives in Toronto and wears a hijab because of her Muslim faith, shocked the media with claims that she was a victim of a targeted hate crime.
Noman alleged to local news outlets that, as she walked to school Friday morning with her brother, an anonymous man wielding scissors approached her and attempted to cut off her hijab. She screamed and ran away, but the alleged assailant returned again to cut her religious garb.
Her story was widely covered, along with strong condemnations of the incident by many in the Canadian government.
“I feel confused, scared, terrified,” the young girl said after the alleged assault.
“I felt scared and worried about my sister and … what’s going to happen next to her,” stated her brother. The mother of the girl also gave her reaction to the media, asking why a person would do such a thing.
Toronto Mayor John Tory, as well as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, condemned the attack.
The reactions went as far up as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who spoke out against the attack while speaking to reporters.
“My heart goes out to the young girl who was attacked seemingly for her religion. I can’t imagine how afraid she must’ve been. I want her, and her family, and her friends and community to know that that is not what Canada is and that is not who Canadians are,” the Liberal prime minister said.
However, after a weekend-long investigation, local law enforcement have declared the claims to be a hoax.
“We have spoken with (the girl), we have spoken to all the people the public would expect us to speak to in the course of a thorough investigation, and when we put all of that together — we looked at it very closely — and that was the conclusion that we came to,” Pugash said of the investigation.
The Toronto Police spokesman wanted to release the conclusion as soon as possible because of the massive attention the story has received.
“That’s why we put that information out as quickly as we could,” he said.
“It … quite understandably reached an enormous amount of media and social media attention and we thought it was important that get our officers’ determination out as soon as we could so that people could have an accurate understanding of something that caused significant concern.”
It’s not entirely clear why Noman allegedly chose to fabricate the story.
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