The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Louisiana student ‘fabricated’ story of hijab attack, police say

Muslim Bangladeshi Americans vote in Queens on Nov. 8. (Darren Ornitz/Reuters)


A student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette fabricated a story that she was attacked and had her hijab rippped off, police said Thursday.

The attack was one of several reported in the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory.

In a press release Thursday afternoon, the Lafayette Police Department said that during the course of their investigation into the woman’s complaint, she “admitted that she fabricated the story about her physical attack as well as the removal of her hijab and wallet by two white males.

“This incident is no longer under investigation” by the department, the statement said.

The original version of this story below has been updated to reflect the latest police statement.

A Muslim student at San Diego State University was robbed and may have had her car stolen Wednesday by two men who made comments about President-elect Donald Trump and Muslims, according to police and university officials, who called the attack a hate crime.

In a separate incident Wednesday, a female student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette claimed to have been beaten, robbed and had her hijab ripped off by two men, one of them wearing a white “Trump” hat, police and university officials said.

But on Thursday, Lafayette police said that during their investigation, the woman admitted fabricating that story.

The SDSU student was walking to her car about 2:30 p.m. when two men accosted her in the stairwell of a campus parking building and “made comments about President-elect Donald Trump and the Muslim community,” campus police said in a statement. The men grabbed the woman’s purse and backpack, and removed her car keys before fleeing, police said.

The woman, who was not injured, left the area to report the attack, police said. When authorities arrived on the scene, they said, her car was missing.

Police described the suspects as a white male between 20 and 25 years old and a Hispanic male about the same age. Investigators are treating the incident as a hate crime, robbery and vehicle theft.

The SDSU Muslim Student Association said the victim was a Muslim student wearing a hijab and “full Islamic garb.” The group is planning a demonstration next week to protest Trump’s victory, saying his campaign has encouraged discrimination against blacks and Muslims.

“We are calling on all students, faculty, staff, and community members to come and show solidarity with our sister that was attacked and also stand against anti-Blackness, Islamophobia, and all other forms of discrimination that have become increasingly normalized during the campaign and now election of Donald Trump,” the group said on Facebook. “It is time we make it clear that the hate and racism of Donald Trump will not find a home in San Diego.”

University President Elliot Hirshman said in a statement that the victim appeared to have been targeted because of her Muslim faith.

“We condemn this hateful act and urge all members of our community to join us in condemning such hateful acts,” Hirshman said. “Hate crimes are destructive to the spirit of our campus and we urge all members of our community to stand together in rejecting hate.”

Hours earlier, Hirshman sent out a statement calling on members of the university to “ensure fair and equitable treatment of all members of our community” in the wake of the election, the independent student newspaper reported.

Trump’s vows over the past year to ban, deport or use “extreme vetting” against Muslims entering the country has struck fear in many U.S. Muslims, who have faced a surge in hate crimes since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Those proposals, along with the president-elect’s repeated condemnations of Muslims on the campaign trail, have led some critics to accuse him of bringing anti-Islamic sentiment into the mainstream.

The incident in San Diego came less than two weeks after a Saudi Arabian student at the University of Wisconsin-Stout was assaulted and killed near campus. Allegations spread online that the attack on 24-year-old Hussain Saeed Alnahdi may have been a hate crime, but police have yet to identify a motive or name a suspect in the case.

More from Morning Mix

‘The Klan won last night’: Aaron Sorkin publishes ‘moving’ letter to daughter, ex-wife, about election

‘She was my beautiful mother’: Reality TV star killed in La. murder-suicide, police say

At suicide hotlines, the first 24 hours of Trump’s America have been full of fear