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Claims of a hate crime last week against a Muslim student in Virginia turned out to be false, according to police.
Fairfax High School student Ekran Mohamed, 16, said she was called racist slurs, pushed by two male classmates, and had her hijab pulled to reveal her hair on Dec. 14 because of her religion, the Post Millennial reports. The school said paramedics were called because she had a panic attack.
“Physically my whole left side of my body is bruised. Mentally, I’m okay because I have all the support around me today,” Mohamed told ABC 7 the next day as hundreds of students walked out in protest.
Abrar Omeish, a Muslim on the Fairfax County School Board, spoke at the meeting: “Something I remember experiencing myself in FCPS, but, of course, we recognize our realities, we know that there are many challenges and that we have to continue working past them.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called for a “hate crime investigation” into the alleged incident at Fairfax High School and a Change.org petition has garnered over 31,000 signatures accusing the school of “covering this up.”
The Fairfax Police Department determined Saturday that there was no evidence of a hate crime.
The female student advised that the information posted on several social media sites, stating that racial comments were used during the altercation were false, police said.
“The police investigation determined the physical altercation between two Fairfax High School students was not a hate crime. The investigation revealed there were no racial comments made by either student,” a Fairfax Police Department press release stated. “The female student confirmed her hijab became partially undone during the altercation, exposing her hair.”
A woman claiming to be Mohamed’s aunt posted a video on Instagram claiming a male Egyptian student “drew the Islamic flag and put a cross on it, like a red cross, like an X” before what she claimed was a “hate crime” attack.
Abed Ayoub, Legal and Policy Director with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, disagreed with the police.
“The targeting of the victim because of her hijab is enough to be considered a hate crime; comments are not needed to elevate this incident to the level of a hate crime,” Ayoub said in a statement. “We are confident that as the investigation continues and witnesses continue to be interviewed the evidence will show that this violent act was motivated by hate. We look forward to continued dialogue with the Fairfax County School Board and the City of Fairfax School Board to address Islamophobia in Fairfax High School and all County schools.”
The police said the investigation into the physical altercation is ongoing.
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