A Muslim student at the University of Texas, Arlington admitted she lied when she claimed that a man followed her to school on Wednesday and threatened her with a gun.
The student posted the claim on Facebook and made reference to Tuesday’s triple murder of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Numerous Muslim groups are alleging that that shooting was a hate crime.
The UTA student claimed that at around 9 a.m. on Wednesday a white man driving a white pickup truck with a Texas flag on the antenna followed her for six miles to campus.
After arriving at the school, the student said that the man, who she claimed was wearing a camouflage baseball cap, got out of his truck, threatened her verbally, and then pointed a handgun at her.
The university issued a campus-wide bulletin about the incident on Friday. And the president of the school’s Muslim Student Association, Amneh Jafari, advised students to walk in groups and to utilize campus security escorts to avoid danger, according to The Shoehorn, the school’s newspaper.
In her Facebook post, the student, identified as Ambreen Sharif, wrote, “Im [sic] not going to generalize and say all Americans are like the ones that followed me today but I have to say that others like him will use the Chapel Hill incident of today and continue to do such hate crimes.”
“All we can do is protect ourselves and continue to pray to Allah that this country and its people learn to accept Muslims.”
But later in the day, campus officials told reporters that the student admitted she fabricated the story and that she wasn’t even at the school at the time of the alleged incident, The Dallas Morning News reported.
It is unclear whether the student will be charged with filing a false report.
The student’s reference to the North Carolina shooting suggests that her goal in making the false claim may have been to draw awareness to anti-Muslim bias.
Craig Hicks, 46, murdered Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, in their condominium near the University of North Carolina on Tuesday afternoon.
The shooting has sparked outrage from Muslims in the U.S. and throughout the world over concerns that it was a hate crime and that the media has failed to properly cover it.
The FBI and Department of Justice are investigating the shooting to see if Hicks violated any federal laws. President Obama endorsed the federal investigation on Friday and lent support to the claim that the shooting was a hate crime. (RELATED: President Obama Speaks Out On Murder Of Three Muslim Students)
But so far, there is little evidence to support the contention that Hicks targeted the students because of their religion or their appearance, though Chapel Hill police are also investigating that angle.
Police, Hicks’ wife and his neighbors have all supported the theory that Hicks acted out because of his long-standing issues with parking at the condominium. Hicks has been described as a deeply hostile man who was known in the neighborhood for being aggressive towards neighbors about parking and noise issues.
Neighbors convened a meeting last year to address Hicks’ outbursts, though nothing came out it.
It is still unclear why, if his anger over parking was indeed the motive, Hicks targeted the three students. According to the victims’ family members and friends, they had had run-ins with Hicks before because of his anger over parking and noise. Hicks once came to the students’ door while carrying a rifle and complained about parking, a friend told reporters.
Hicks’ social media footprint does show a deep hostility towards organized religion, but not necessarily towards Muslims or Islam. A supporter of numerous progressive causes — he supported gay marriage and abortion rights — Hicks “liked” the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group which monitors extremist hate groups. Hicks’ hostility towards organized religion also appeared to focus mainly on Christianity.
Update: This post has been updated to include more information about the student’s social media post. The full Facebook posts are contained below.
— Big Bro Arago (@aragotheaniki) February 14, 2015