So the appalling Toronto story that made international headlines of a man committing a hate crime against an 11-year-old child by attacking her with scissors and cutting her hijab twice turned out to be a hoax.
Here was the curt update from Toronto Police Services at 10:38 a.m.
“After a detailed investigation, police have determined that the events described in the original news release did not happen.
The investigation is concluded.”
Wait, not so fast. Does that mean there will be another investigation into the child’s family to pursue possible charges under the Criminal Code for public mischief for making a false statement?
On a Zoomer Radio podcast Toronto Police Services Unit Commander/Director Mark Pugash for Corporate Communications said the case was closed repeatedly.
“Are investigation is concluded. I won’t anticipate anything further coming from it.”
“No, as I just said, the investigation is concluded and I wouldn’t expect there to be anything else to arise from this.”
“We make decisions in every case based on the evidence we have, what is appropriate as far as any action we take in regards to any action we take in charging people. And we’ve decided with the conclusion of this case, and the finding of the events that were described on Friday did not happen, that we will not be taking this any further.”
“Again, I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to go into speculation about how it might have started or who may have been involved, our concern was that there were very serious allegations, which caused alarm and dismay to people in the city and beyond investigators worked very aggresively to gather a significant amount of evidence that they looked at, that they tested, that they analyzed, and the only conclusion that they could come to was that it didn’t happen.
It seems odd that the Toronto Police wouldn’t pursue an investigation into the family over what appears to be an elaborate hoax that has similar red flags — family participating in press conference, poised children, a phony story grabbing a lot of publicity — like the Balloon Boy, whose parents had him participate in a hoax that fooled media into believing the boy had flown away on a large balloon. In the case of the Balloon Boy, his parents were sentenced to jail time, probation, community service hours, and fined.
(I’d include Clock Boy as well, but that has never definitively been proven to be a hoax, although Ahmed Mohamed’s father is a well-known publicity hound and the story of how he brought in the guts of a clock that looked very similar to a bomb and that his sister had said disturbing comments prior and that Mohamed basked in the spotlight all raise red flags.)
Of course laws are different in Ontario than in Colorado.
In Canada, charges can’t be laid on anyone under 12 years old, and for good reason, but if the mother or someone else was involved in hatching this hijab hoax, coaching the children to make a false report, then certainly the police should pursue the investigation and possibly laying charges.
It’s no laughing matter to waste considerable amounts of police resources and time on a false report and if any adults were involved they should face legal consequences.
I’ve reached out to Pugash for further comment on why they wouldn’t pursue investigating who was involved in this hoax and how much Toronto Police time and resources were used on this case. I will update this story if and when I hear back.
Re-watching the below video, where the girl tells the tall tale, it certainly seems suspicious now. The mother looks expectantly and nods her head when her daughter says “I felt really scared” and “I didn’t feel comfortable”, signs suggesting she might have coached her daughter.
(I found this video doing a search and don’t know or endorse the account @BasedMonitored.)
It also seems unlikely two siblings would concoct an elaborate plan on their own to cut twelve inches of a hijab and then make a false report that would trick police and the press (the police had the sliced hijab in their possession as evidence).
Although false reports are relatively rare, Toronto Sun columnist Anthony Furey pointed out — in “Hijab Hoax Girl Family Owe Canadians an Apology” — that another false report ended up with the offender getting off scot-free.
“There are too many questions remaining for the cops to leave it like this. Last August, police considered charging a man in Durham Region for misleading them about a false Islamophobia complaint. Section 140 of the Criminal Code covers public mischief. It says that ‘making a false statement that accuses some other person of having committed and offence’ could see you locked up for up to five years. They even arrested a homeless man in the case, only to later find the complainant’s story didn’t add up.”
I think the majority of Canadians would agree that they would want to see people giving police false reports punished.
There has been much furor from right-wing circles online over politicians and the press rushing to report and comment on Friday’s ongoing investigation, suspending any disbelief in a story that should’ve smelled fishy from the get go.
Although some healthy skepticism had being voiced, a lot of it descended into far-fetched, far-right conspiracy theories that will only grow now that it’s turned out it’s a hoax.
Perhaps the media do deserve some blame for not pushing back on the child’s narrative that didn’t seem to add up, but reporters were put in a difficult situation. It was an international story blowing up and they needed to quickly send copy to their editors. Furthermore, who wants to question a child on their story or believe that she is lying about being attacked by a man that morning? (Although, the original story certainly does fit the agenda of progressives in the media who tried to claim hate crimes were on the rise because of the so-called Trump-effect, with CBC being the worst offender in trying to bait people into buying white supremacist T-shirt after the U.S. election so the state broadcaster could falsely prove a non-existent trend and reconfirm their confirmation bias.) And only bigoted individuals would think these actions of kids, and perhaps her parent(s), have anything to do with the Muslim community at large.
Nevertheless, on the other side of the coin, leftist commentators should not immediately believe that this was just the imaginings of two children, simply because they don’t want to find out whether or not a Muslim mother put her children up to this. People should be judged upon their actions, and if it turns out the family was involved there should be consequences in wasting the police force’s time and resources, as well as for putting men, who fit the false description given to police, at risk of being arrested by police and possibly in danger.
With all that being said, I think it was unfortunate how quickly the political class in Canada were quick to comment on an incident that had just started to be investigated. Politicians helped raise the profile of this story to an incredible magnitude to score political points, which now makes it all the more difficult for the girl and boy to move on from this unfortunate chapter in their lives.
(Why would the PM use the girl’s name? And why is the tweet still up and/or not corrected? The original story did play into the Liberals’ hand, since they may advocate strengthening hate speech laws to protect Muslim-Canadians in the wake of the mosque shooting. It’s worth pointing out that there are far more hate crimes committed against Jews in Canada than Muslims (not that it’s a competition, but to point out the disparity in the coverage), since the media and Liberals might make you think otherwise.)
(At least Toronto Mayor John Tory, or his staff, had the sense to delete his original tweet and update the record.)
I also reached out to the Toronto District School Board — criticized in the past for being overly political correct and ideologically left-leaning in its teaching — to get comment. Below is the email exchange.
To whom this concerns,
I’m Toronto-based freelance journalist writing a piece on the alleged Friday attack that turned out to be a hoax.
I realize TDSB has released a short statement and says it will not be commenting any further on this matter.
However, there are still some unanswered questions many in the public likely still have for TDSB that I will be addressing in a column. I would like to give the TDSB the opportunity to answer them.
1) Why did the TDSB think it was a good idea to hold a press conference within the school and to have the attacked student take questions at that same press conference? Should TDSB not have been protecting the girls identitiy?
2) Why has the TDSB suddenly decided to not speak to the media any further after being so open back on Friday?
3) Are the young girl and boy being disciplined by their school for lying to school teachers and administrators?
I look forward to hearing from you and getting some clarification on these questions.
Thank you for your time.
Here’s a statement that we’ve provided with regards to how the media avail came to be on Friday. I think this answers your questions.
“On Friday morning, Toronto Police tweeted about an initial report of an assault at the school involving a man cutting off a student’s hijab. As a result, a TDSB spokesperson was dispatched to the school, where multiple media outlets were already present and wanting to speak to the student and/or her family. At no time, did the TDSB call a press conference, however spokespeople from the TDSB and Toronto Police made themselves available to answer any questions. This was done inside the school due to the bad weather outside. After expressing concern that they were going to be approached by media outside while trying to leave, as well as a concern that no members of the community be subject to the alleged perpetrator, the family was asked if they would like to join the TDSB spokesperson as she spoke to media. The family members said they would speak to media and it was our understanding that this happened after, not before, they provided statements to police. Once again, we are very thankful that this assault did not in fact happen. Our motivation for commenting on the issue at the time was only out of compassion, care, concern and support — as did many elected leaders nationally, provincially and locally via interviews or social media.”
With regards to any possible disciplinary action, for privacy reasons, I’m not able to provide any more information on that. Hope you understand.
Ryan [Bird, TDSB spokesperson]
(The CBC loves to include comments from the PM in many reports unrelated to his job.)
Expect some on the left to want to move on from this story because it doesn’t fit their ideological agenda that free speech needs to be curtailed because of supposedly rapid rises in hate crimes on Muslims in Canada. And expect some on the right to be somehow convinced that this was an elaborate conspiracy, coordinated by politicians and the press.
Below are excerpts from an email sent from Rebel founder Ezra Levant, eager to exploit the situation and whip up anger by making sweeping statements. I’ve also included the video included in the email.