We reported last week that an 11-year-old girl wearing a hijab had been attacked by a man. A man allegedly pulled her hood down while she was walking to school and cut her hijab using scissors. It has now been confirmed by Toronto police that this incident did not take place.
On Monday, police said, “After a detailed investigation, police have determined that the events described in the original news release did not happen. The investigation is concluded.”
Police said last week that the alleged attack was being investigated as a possible hate crime. The girl, along with her mother and representatives from the TDSB, spoke to reporters inside her school Friday after she had talked to police.
Her story was all over the news even received public condemnation from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory.
So why did the 11-year-old girl lie about the incident?
Police spokesperson Mark Pugash said in an interview, “I am not going into that.” He said police don’t know how the story went that far. He noted it’s “quite rare” for someone to make false allegations of this type, and said he hopes it will not discourage others from coming forward.
The girl who reported the incident will not face any legal consequences.
Prime minister Trudeau said he was relieved that the incident did not happen.
“We have seen an unfortunate pattern of increased hate crimes in past months directed towards religious minorities, particularly towards women. We are a country that defends freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and people’s rights to go to school without being fearful or harassed. This is fundamental to who we are.”
In a brief statement, the school board said it is “very thankful that this assault did not in fact happen.
“We won’t be commenting further.”