An 18-year-old Muslim woman has recanted her claim that she was harassed by a group of Donald Trump supporters on a New York City subway car earlier this month, DNA Info is reporting.
Sources tell the website that Yasmin Seweid, a student at Baruch College, said that she made up the story because she was having problems at home and wanted attention. Seweid will also be charged with filing a false police report, according to DNA Info.
Seweid claimed that on Dec. 1 she was harassed by three drunk white men who called her a “terrorist” and told her to “get the hell out of the country.” One of the men attempted to remove Seweid’s hijab, she claimed. Worse, she said that other passengers did not come to her aid.
“No matter how ‘cultured’ or ‘Americanized’ I am, these people don’t see me as an American,” Seweid wrote on Facebook about the alleged incident.
Numerous news outlets — including Buzzfeed and local TV stations — ran the story as fact, citing the incident as an example of the alleged increase in anti-Muslim bias that has gripped the nation in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential win.
But little evidence of the incident had surfaced over the past couple of weeks. Investigators could find no witnesses to corroborate Seweid’s claims, and there were no video recordings of the alleged harassment. Red flags were raised last week after Seweid disappeared without notice for two days. She was found at a friend’s house.
According to DNA Info, Seweid admitted to the hoax on Tuesday.
As for charges that will be filed against the student, DNA Info further reported:
A source explained that, given the amount of time detectives spent chasing the phony story, and how politically charged the allegation was, the police and prosecutors felt compelled to charge her, particularly since they said they had given her numerous opportunities to come clean earlier in the process. She repeatedly refused to tell the truth for weeks, they added.
Told of the charges pending against his daughter, Seweid’s father did not deny that she made up the tale.
“You try to raise your children as best you can,” Sayeed Seweid told DNA Info. “Maybe she was afraid that night. She was running late.
“She’s a bright, good girl. She’s young and maybe she was foolish here,” he continued. “Young kids, you know, you don’t understand their mentality.”
Seweid’s hoax is not the first to emerge in the wake of Trump’s win. Several alleged anti-Muslim, anti-gay and anti-black incidents have been found to have been fabricated.
Last month, an 18-year-old student at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette was charged with filing a false report after she told police that a group of men wearing Donald Trump hats harassed her and stole her hijab.