Hijab Hoax: Unanswered Questions for Toronto Police, Some Questions Answered by the Toronto District School Board

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.)

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TDSB retweeting
Retweets still on the TDSB Twitter page. TDSB has not tweeted out an update.

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.

Regards,
Graeme Gordon

Hi Graeme,

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.

Thanks,

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.

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Rebel 2

Rebel 3

Rebel 4

 

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Still No Word on Hillary Clinton Scandal, But 20 Minutes for ‘Ask Bob’ on Climate Change in Friday’s ‘The National’ (November 3, 2017)

(What Was Wrong With CBC’s The National Mission Statement.)

Time allotment for The National stories on Friday:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vRSAZR7wHATJsKER2RkeCmM7wMA62IMSErvNYcAEZ7wOviBNM5RXxznnU5jHeWGU-6cw6vvvw7a7I-H/pubchart?oid=1097049240&format=interactive

What was wrong with The National on Friday:

  • Well the CBC got to the Julie Payette story finally, albeit a couple days late. CBC’s Katie Simpson did give some people of faith to respond to Payette’s inappropriate comments from a Governor General and also included a Facebook comment from Andrew Scheer questioning why Trudeau praised Payette for her comments mocking religion. Unless the CBC couldn’t get a direct comment from Scheer in the past couple days, I find it interesting that Trudeau got a lengthy part of this segment to explain his thoughts on the matter but Scheer only gets a Facebook response included in the report. The report also didn’t make it clear how unprecedented Payette’s comments are for a Governor General, and didn’t show that the Liberals are promoting Payette’s divisive comments on Twitter.

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  • The next report proved The National can put together breaking news when it puts its mind to it. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna confronted a Rebel Media reporter out in B.C. for the controversial right-wing media outlet calling her Climate Barbie. Personally I think Rebel calling politicians names is completely juvenile, however I think they have a right to say it if they want to, but don’t expect to be taken seriously as a news organization then. I find it interesting that this event happened a few hours before The National aired and the flagship program was able to fit this in as its second report. Many other stories, like Payette’s, The National completely misses or reports days late. But this involved the infamous Rebel Media, which the Liberals and much of the media are using to try and smear Scheer because of his campaign manager’s involvement as an IT guy and one of the founders of the conservative outlet. (Full disclosure, I’ve written extensively on The Rebel’s antics over the past several months for Canadaland.) So of course the CBC seized on the opportunity to report on this story, but ignored the Rebel story from a year ago that was blowing up on social media again this week about McKenna’s department buying a brand new Tesla, old porsches, and other luxury cars for “emissions testing.” The National ‘s one-minute report only showed McKenna’s side of the exchange. The CBC should’ve included the part where the Rebel reporter asks McKenna to stop using the derogatory term “deniers” for anyone who is skeptical of climate change studies and models. (Again, I think it’s inappropriate for journalists to come up with cheap shot names for politicians, but as a columnist myself, columnists do give politicians the odd nickname, but when most people at your organization repeatedly call a politician climate barbie it’s no longer appropriate in my humble opinion, especially when that nickname will largely be interpreted, myself included, as misogynistic and sexist. If you don’t agree with McKenna then rally your ideas and research together and fight her ideas. Don’t attack her personally.)

  • The National then did a segment on the latest job numbers that wasn’t very critical of quality of jobs–or lack thereof–and the number of part-time jobs. Otherwise the report was pretty accurate in saying the supposedly hot market is likely already cooling off. But the report still mostly would leave the viewer with a rosy picture of the job market in Canada.
  • The next segment was an update on clearing up the confusion Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson started earlier this week by saying fewer than five cabinet ministers were exploiting the same ethics loophole Morneau used. It turned out it was just Morneau using it, which begs the question, why did Dawson’s office say that from the outset? The report then finished by saying Morneau is planning to put his assets in a blind trust. Guess that scandal is over in CBC’s eyes, despite the opposition still hammering Morneau over his decisions to mislead the public and not recuse himself from working on legislation that would affect the price of his shares in his family’s company. I think the CBC thinks the story is confusing enough that most Canadians don’t really care that an acting Finance Minister held over a million shares in an industry that he was actively regulating in the legislature. The fact that he misled the public and decided not to relinquish control of this asset just adds to the sketchiness of his actions. Somehow CBC’s The National doesn’t think so.
  • Then there was a quick report on the use of the new Magnitsky Act against international human rights abusers in Canada. Have to commend the Liberal government on this one. Deserved more than a 20-second report by The National though.

The National then had a report on how the opposition, provinces, police, and Senators are asking the Trudeau government to slow down legalizing pot. The report was pretty balanced, but again they found a way to insert a relatively long clip of Trudeau walking and smiling.

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  • The next story worth mentioning was the rise in acid attacks in London, England, that have made it the acid attack capital of the world. The CBC reporter failed to explain that the increased immigration from certain areas of the world, and the culture those newcomers bring with them, is major factor in the epidemic. Instead, the reporter said it’s coming from East London, as if that explains why. Of course CBC would never posit the idea that too much immigration to a Western country from certain regions can have negative effects for the large cities of these countries. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-immigration, but CBC’s complete pro-immigration stance–lockstep with the Liberals–is outrageous when many European countries are facing tremendous problems from open door immigration policies. Instead, UK politicians’ ridiculous solution is to ban commonplace corrosive substances from minors and make them harder to obtain. Perhaps a second look at immigration policies in the UK are in order.

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  • The National then had an Ask Bob climate change edition where viewers got to send in questions for CBC’s science correspondent Bob McDonald. Heather Hiscox started off the segment with a primer where she said, “Our knowledge of climate change is still imperfect. But it is a field scientists have been building on for decades.” Okay, fair enough, but just because they’ve been building on it doesn’t mean they have any idea to what extent global warming is influenced by humans. Hiscox in her interview with McDonald asked him if he knew from his decades of covering climate change, if he knew it was going to be the pressing issue of today. Sorry, but geopolitics and possible nuclear war are far more pressing, the jury is still out on global warming and there are new game-changing technology just around the bend that might solve the problem quite rapidly. This whipping up of fear among Western citizenry to convince them to shoot themselves economically in the foot over this questionable phenomenon, while letting the developing world pollute to its heart’s content in these international agreements may not be the best solution. Both Hiscox and McDonald kept referencing the UN and its studies as if that international body can be trusted to be impartial. To be fair, some of McDonald’s explanations were interesting, but saying, “The Earth can heal itself if we stop pushing it. And I really believe we can if we take it seriously and stop saying that there is a debate about this. There is no debate.” Well there could be if you have some voices from the other side that CBC and the government call deniers. There are many scientists out there that are skeptical about the doomsday picture McDonald and the Liberal government paint. Perhaps the CBC should present this other side instead of just giving McDonald 20 minutes–pretty much half of The National program–to lectures us on the subject from upon high on his pulpit. This incredibly long interview left no time I guess to report on the Hillary Clinton scandal over how she apparently rigged the DNC against her opponent Bernie Sanders. It’s bizarre that this hasn’t been reported by The National or CBC at all. Instead the most recent reports on her are about her book tour into Canada and supposedly debunking her and Bill’s connection to a uranium deal with Russia. My God is the pro-Clinton bias clear.

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  • The final report was on gentrification in LA. I guess The National forgot about our own domestic problems with gentrification and a housing market that seems to only go up in prices. Perhaps a story on how Chinese gangs in Vancouver are laundering millions of dollars through casinos there might be influencing the housing market there and elsewhere in Canada. But that would be controversial, so instead The National reports on gentrification outside our borders.

If you’re fed up with CBC’s The National‘s bias make sure to share this on Twitter and Facebook. Also click on the link below and give a down vote.

Friday’s The National

 

What Was Wrong With CBC’s ‘The National’ Tuesday (October 31, 2017)

(What Was Wrong With CBC’s The National Mission Statement.)

Time allotment for The National stories on Tuesday.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vRaxyHUyreLaYz7SFKaST0i3UhHzypavIrJMMlW2-F-a0KZUtMHD_P_g2kFr40GPms_xkW-rqMvuj9p/pubchart?oid=67839267&format=interactive

What was wrong with The National Tuesday night:

  • The lead story on the New York terror attack was actually a good news report
  • The lead story was followed up with a former CSIS officer explaining terrorist attacks and giving background. Again, another fair report. (Have to give credit where credit is due.)
  • The follow-up reporting again failed to tie in top Hillary Clinton political operative Tony Podesta. Otherwise it wasn’t too biased.
  • A story on the possible cancellation of a hydro dam in B.C. took a few minutes of the broadcast, but still no report on the story of money laundering of hundreds of millions of dollars in B.C. casinos for some strange reason.
  • CBC spent almost eight minutes trying to hype up its Pyeongchang Olympic coverage.
  • The National then interviewed murdered Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky’s family. The interview was good, albeit long (nine minutes). An important story though as Canada just passed a Magnitsky law against human rights abusers.
  • A nine-minute feature on crowdfunding money for the classroom seemed painfully boring so I skipped it.
  • CBC finally dropped the ball by having a 28-second report to give a rundown on all of the costumes worn by Dear leader’s family. In the two weeks I’ve been covering The National Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has barely been on for more than a few seconds at Question Period and the new NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has been completely absent.
  • The ongoing scandal involving Finance Minister Bill Morneau at Parliament was again completely ignored, despite Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre dominating him in Question Period.

If CBC’s bias towards Trudeau and the Liberals bother you make sure to give The National‘s episodes a thumb down.

Tuesday’s The National.