Students at Illinois’s Elmhurst College can rest easy: an arrest was finally made last Thursday in the alarming case of Safia Jilani, a Muslim Elmhurst student who told police two weeks ago that a masked man hit her on the head with a gun in a campus restroom — and that on the mirror was written the blood-chilling words, “Kill the Muslims.”
When Jilani originally reported this incident, college officials acted quickly, locking down the campus for a thoroughgoing police search. Hundreds of students out of the 3,300-member student body held a rally protesting the “hate crime,” and campus police offered Muslim students free rides and escorts around campus.
But now the crisis is over: the culprit has been arrested and charged with a felony — and turns out to have been…Safia Jilani. After investigating the incident all week, police announced Friday that no one had hit Jilani on the head at all, and charged her with filing a false police report — a felony that could get her three years in prison.
Police have also been investigating a late September incident the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, Ohio. A ten-year-old girl told police that while a crowd was inside the mosque to celebrate Ramadan, two men sprayed something from a spray can into a basement window. The girl herself was sprayed in the face, which she said made her face burn and made her feel sick to her stomach. Others soon began coughing and fled the building. Police and fire personnel along with hazardous materials teams came to the mosque to investigate.
Whose fault was this? Some inside the mosque and elsewhere were convinced that the attack was related to the anti-jihad Obsession DVD, which a non-profit organization, the Clarion Fund, has been bundling with newspapers nationwide. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others charged that the distribution of Obsession was a conservative attempt to whip up fears of terrorism and thereby elect John McCain. CAIR even asked the Federal Elections Commission to investigate.
Obsession had been distributed in Dayton newspapers just before the incident at the Dayton mosque — which in the eyes of the Left, meant that the man most to blame for this apparent hate crime was none other than John McCain. Chris Rodda, author of a book entitled Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History, wrote furiously at the Far-Left Daily Kos website: “John McCain has a moral obligation to publicly censure the Clarion Fund, the organization that produced Obsession and is distributing the DVDs; to denounce the inflammatory, anti-Muslim message of Obsession; and to do everything in his power to stop any further campaign activities by his supporters that have the potential to incite violence.”
But McCain didn’t, and it’s a good thing, because there was no hate crime at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton. Said Dayton police chief Richard Biehl: “There was nothing left at the scene or anything that makes us believe this is a biased crime.” HAZMAT team coordinator Denny Bristow added: “We can test for about 130 to 140 chemicals, including pepper spray, and all our tests came back negative.” A can of pepper spray that initial reports said was found outside the mosque later turned out to have been found inside the mosque.
The Elmhurst and Dayton non-incidents were not the first anti-Muslim hate crimes to be completely fabricated. In 2005 Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha combed through CAIR’s annual report purporting to document a rise in hate attacks on Muslims in the United States, and found “a pattern of sloppiness, exaggeration, and distortion.” One example: “CAIR cites the July 9, 2004 case of apparent arson at a Muslim-owned grocery store in Everett, Washington. But investigators quickly determined that Mirza Akram, the store’s operator, staged the arson to avoid meeting his scheduled payments and to collect on an insurance policy. Although Akram’s antics were long ago exposed as a fraud, CAIR continues to list this case as an anti-Muslim hate crime.”
Why fabricate hate crimes? In today’s politically correct environment, they mean political capital. They foster the impression that resistance to Islamic terrorism equals hatred of Muslims, and results in the victimization of innocent people. And there is one candidate into whose hands such an impression plays — but it isn’t John McCain.