What makes a young Canadian Muslim girl make up a hate crime against herself?
Last week in Toronto, 11-year old Khawlah Noman told police she was on her way to her (public) school when she felt a man trying to cut her hijab with scissors. She said she screamed and ran away, but the man returned 10 minutes later and attacked her again.
After an investigation, which we can assume was thorough (since it wasn’t challenged), the police concluded that the incident never happened.
But before the story was vetted, the girl and her mother were up in front of the media, which promptly decried its outrage and disgust over such an “Islamophobic” display of racism against Muslims.
First, we should be clear that we don’t know what prompted the girl to fabricate the story. The two most logical explanations are that she was being bullied at school for being a Muslim or wearing a hijab, or that Muslim grievances against the West were something she was used to hearing about from her family, community or mosque.
At any rate, an 11-year old is old enough to recognize that making any such claim would draw quite a bit of attention.
All the more reason that the story should have been corroborated. Given the number of incidences of late where these types of stories are hoaxes, the damage they cause to society at large (which is accused of racism) as well as the Muslim community itself (for pretending that the society is racist) is significant.
For the most part, victimhood assigned to Muslims in the West has come from two main sources:
Yet, the truth remains that Muslims are not the group that is most demonized and the brunt of the majority of hate crimes in the West – that distinction consistently goes to the Jews.
Significantly in France, the number of hate crimes against Muslims and Jews fell sharply in 2016, a fact attributed to a €100 million campaign launched by the French government to “fight racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination linked or originating from religion.”
Muslim cries of victimhood must be understood and weighed against a background of a number of factors, which on the surface can appear quite contradictory.
One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the biggest factor contributing to anti-Muslim hate crime is terror attacks perpetrated by radical Muslims.
Yet, surprisingly, favorable ratings of Muslims significantly increased in France (across all sectors of society from left- to right-wing) in the aftermath of the horrific Islamist attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
According to the Pew Research Center, which carried out the polling, the pattern in France was similar to what researchers saw in the United States in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks (with the biggest improvement in favorable ratings of Muslims occurring among conservative Republicans).
In addition, favorable ratings of Muslims in general were quite high to start with.
This tells us that despite horrific Islamist terror attacks, Westerners are willing to believe the best about Muslims as a whole, and are not terribly prone to blaming an entire group for the actions of a few radicals.
Furthermore, the campaign in France tells us that when bigotry about all groups (not just Muslims) is addressed, hate crimes (and hopefully racist thinking) can be reduced across all populations.
In contrast, when Islamists (and their media and leftist enablers) push their divisive agenda of “Islamophobia,” it serves to draw Muslims into their fold, educating them falsely to buy into the “us versus them” mindset, thus making them ripe for adopting more radicalized and separatist views.
What to do to counter Muslim hate crime then?
Muslims would be better off to adopt a different strategy: Call out incidences for what they are and move on (as do the Jews). Concentrate on weeding out extremists in their midst and work on integrating into the larger society.
In the meantime, it would go a long way to express gratitude for living in Western countries which have made hate-based crime illegal and have educated their populations, for the most part, not to be racist.