In a strange turn of events, the alleged hate crime that reverberated across Canadian and American media over the weekend turned out to be a complete fabrication. But what may be an even stranger outcome was the response taken by those at almost all levels of the Canadian government.
On Friday, 11-year-old Khawlah Noman claimed to police and local news outlets that she was the target of a hate crime, evidently for her Muslim faith. According to Noman — a Toronto native — she was attacked not once, but twice by an anonymous man wielding a pair of scissors as she walked to school.
Testimony from the young girl detailed how the man approached her from behind. The assailant, who she described as a 20- to 30-year-old Asian man, allegedly came up to her, but ran away after she screamed.
However, she said he returned minutes later and successfully destroyed her hijab, a religious garb Muslim women wear to cover their hair.
Noman and her family spoke to the media and police about the alleged incident, with the 11-year-old girl telling reporters she felt “scared” and terrified.”
“What you’re doing is really wrong,” she said, according to BBC News. “You should not act like this, and especially, I’m a kid.”
Noman’s story quickly garnered international attention and many in Canada’s government, apparently hoping to publicize their opposition to Islamophobia, swiftly condemned the heinous act.
Both Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premiere Kathleen Wynne immediately spoke out regarding the incident.
“I am shocked and appalled to learn that a student wearing a hijab was assaulted on the way to school this morning,” Tory wrote in a statement. “I join with all Toronto residents in standing up to such an act of hatred.
Wynne took to Twitter to air her grievances.
Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took part in the condemnation, speaking about it on Twitter and during a news briefing.
“My heart goes out to the young girl who was attacked, seemingly for her religion. I can’t imagine how afraid she must have 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 told reporters.
Immediately following the claims on Friday, the Toronto Police Department promised a thorough investigation, even adding that they had leads on who the suspect was. However, there was a major problem after a weekend of research.
Law enforcement concluded that the claims were a complete hoax.
According to Toronto police, nothing had happened when Noman walked with her brother and friends to Pauline Johnson Junior Public School on Friday morning.
The findings were odd given that so much attention was paid to this incident and many Canadian politicians had taken the opportunity to condemn what amounted to a fake story. What was even stranger — the same politicians who were quick to condemn an alleged hate crime refused to acknowledge the fault in concocting a false police report.
In response to law enforcement’s conclusion, Canadian leaders repeated a similar and ambiguous line — they were simply glad a hate crime against a Muslim student didn’t actually happen.
“I’d like to thank the Toronto Police Service for their work in this matter, and I join all Ontarians in being thankful and relieved that this assault did not take place,” Wynne stated, according to The Toronto Star.
Tory said essentially the same thing on Twitter.
When questioned, Trudeau refused to condemn Noman’s family for lying to police and wasting taxpayer funds on an investigation. He instead pointed to past attacks against Muslims.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a pattern … of increased hate crimes against religious minorities, particularly against young women of racialized backgrounds. This is something we need to take very, very, very seriously and the pattern and the trend lines that we’re seeing is something, as you pointed out, is one of those warning signs around increased intolerance,” Trudeau said.
He made no acknowledgement whatsoever about the perils of filing a false police report.
The police findings in Toronto were the latest in a string of alleged attacks against Muslims in Canada and the U.S. that were subsequently found to be fabricated. This was also not the first time lawmakers have tried to shy away from simply condemning the filing of a false police report — a crime in both Canada and the U.S.
The incident bears some resemblance to the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed — or “clock boy” as he is widely known — several years ago in Texas for bringing to school what looked very much like a bomb. The boy claimed it was simply a clock he constructed and wanted to show off. The public showered sympathy for Ahmed at the time.
However, it was later discovered the incident was orchestrated by the boy’s father, as he had his daughter do the same exact thing with a similar outcome. Ahmed’s father tried, and failed, to sue the school for thousands of dollars.
During the initial fallout, then-President Barack Obama took to Twitter to praise Ahmed for his work and invite him to the White House, but the Democrat president had no immediate comment when later discoveries proved Ahmed’s intentions to be dubious.
Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch and the author of numerous books on Islamic extremism, spoke to The Western Journal about why Canada’s government is so reluctant to criticize the filing of a false police report by those in the Muslim community.
“Canada’s Parliament recently passed the ‘anti-Islamophobia’ motion M-103, and is moving to stigmatize and silence criticism of Islam, in response to the false claim that Muslims are the victims of wholesale persecution, discrimination and harassment in Canada,” Spencer explained, pointing to bona fide legislation that has the intention of branding any criticism of Islam as Islamophobic.
Spencer and his organization have closely watched the incident in Toronto unfold, and he argues politics is at play.
“This fake hate crime fit their narrative, which is why Trudeau and others rushed to issue statements when the news first broke. But the fact that it is a hoax doesn’t fit their narrative of Muslims as victims. They don’t want to condemn it or call any attention to it at all; they just want it to drop out of the news cycle,” he said.
“And soon they will be pushing another narrative, likely false as well, of Muslim victimhood.”
The silence is not isolated to just Canada’s political sphere, but also reflects on the city’s law enforcement. Noman’s family, as it stands now, will not face any repercussions for falsely claiming a hate crime.
“I can tell you that we investigated this very thoroughly and our view is that the investigation is concluded and I wouldn’t expect anything more to come from us,” Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said Tuesday in a conversation with The Western Journal.
The initial answer drew push-back, with The Journal pointing out that the Toronto Police Department’s website clearly states that filing a false report is a criminal offense. The Journal asked why no such action is being taken.
“I can tell you that … over the years, a small number of cases where people claimed that events have taken place, which a subsequent investigation determined did not take place, and I don’t believe we charged anyone in those cases either,” Pugash explained.
“There is discretion. All police officers have discretion and they exercise that discretion all the time and we took all the factors into consideration and decided this was the way forward.”
Pugash, the director of corporate communications for the police department, said that despite the waste of taxpayer dollars on the investigation, no action against the family is likely to be taken, although their actions did constitute “criminal mischief” under the department’s code.
When asked if the department’s decision not to pursue charges against Noman’s family was due to political correctioness of any kind, Pugash answered with a definitive “no.”
“Absolutely not. That is an easy allegation to make. There was no hint of any of that in the decision we made,” he said.
Jason Hopkins is The Western Journal’s Washington, D.C., correspondent.
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