I published an article today, "'Islamophobic Prejudice' and CAIR," that documents how one Mirza Akram of Everett, Washington, plastered vile anti-Arab graffiti on the store he was managing and planning to buy before allegedly setting fire to it.
Well, the ever-vigilant Michelle Malkin, in a May 29, 2003 article titled "Myth of the Muslim hate crime epidemic" and a May 30, 2003 article titled "More Muslim hate crime myths" provides specifics of four other instances in which American Muslims – Ahmad Saad Nasim, Mazhar Tabesh, Nezar "Mike" Maad, and Aqil Yassom Al-Timimi – won themselves vast sympathy as victims of "hate crimes," only to have it turn out that they were actually the perps. She notes that what she calls "hoax crimes" have a real price: they "waste precious investigative resources, exacerbate racial tension, create terror and corrode goodwill."
In all, then, there are at least five cases proven or alleged hoax crimes since 9/11; how many more might there be that no one has counted? Malkin wonders about this too, noting that
when it comes to cracking down on hate crime hoaxes by Arabs and Muslims, the feds—too busy conducting politically correct "outreach" with Muslim leaders who pooh-pooh hate crime fraud—have been appallingly negligent. There is no way of knowing whether fake hate crimes outnumber real anti-Muslim crimes because no law enforcement agency keeps track. (Note to frustrated cops: Send me your suspected hoax cases and let's get started.)
She also blames journalists for ignoring this phenomenon: "It's a shame so many in the media are more concerned with protecting the twisted cult of victimhood than with exposing hard truths." (August 25, 2004)
Sep. 30, 2004 update: Add another apparent fraudster, #6 in this listing, Amjad Abunar. Here is the text of an article titled "Hate-Crime Accuser Charged With Arson":
McALLEN, Tex., Sept. 29 - The owner of a Middle Eastern meat market who had said he was the victim of a hate crime in this border town was arrested and arraigned Tuesday [Sept. 28] on a felony arson charge that he set fire to his own business. The man, Amjad Abunar, had complained that "Go Home" was twice spray-painted on a door of his Al Madinah Market before a fire on Aug. 6 that gutted the small delicatessen. Only last week, the graffiti and fire were cited as evidence by a Washington advocacy group that hate crimes against Muslims were on the rise in Texas. Bond for Mr. Abunar was set at $150,000, and he remained in jail on Wednesday. [DP: hyperlink added]
And which "Washington advocacy group" might that be? Why, CAIR of course. The article goes on:
Representatives of the advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which had complained that McAllen officials were not investigating the fire as a possible hate crime, said they were stunned Wednesday to learn of Mr. Abunar's arrest. Ibrahim Hooper, a council official in Washington, said Mr. Abunar had assured him he had nothing to do with setting the fire.
One wonders if, after they get over being "stunned," whether CAIR will retract the strong statements it made about Amjad Abunar or whether – as it did in the case of Mirza Akram – just go mute.
Feb. 6, 2005 update: Belatedly, here is the scoop on "hate crime" hoax #7, this one perpetrated by Saleh Nawash, 54. A naturalized U.S. citizen who emigrated from Lebanon, Nawash is a leader at the Islamic Mosque of Cleveland. He owned a meat store called Halal Products (halal is the Islamic equivalent of kosher) and in July 2002 he pleaded guilty to conspiracy, attempted aggravated arson, and attempted insurance fraud. When Halal Products failed, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer (not online), Nawash coveted the $100,000 insurance policy on the business and hired an arsonist to do the dirty deed. The prosecutor provided details on how he left kerosene in the building and how, to win sympathy, he plotted to make the fire look like a hate crime. Nawash received a jail sentence of nine years; his side-kick Ahmed Jaffal, 49, got eight years.
May 18, 2005 update: Sharon Chadha and I published "CAIR's Hate Crimes Nonsense" at FrontPageMagazine.com today, reviewing a recent CAIR publication, Unequal Protection: The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States 2005.
Nov. 13, 2005 update: Here is hoax #8: Shehab Ahmed and his father Shahriar fulminated on March 23, 2005, David Reinhard recounts in the Oregonian, because the former had been kicked off an airplane.
the father-son duo were the top story on KGW (8)'s 11 p.m. news. "The son of a prominent Muslim is told he can't fly home to Portland and tonight, his family is looking for answers," anchor Russ Lewis announced. Shehab, we were told, was coming home from UCLA for spring break when he found out he was on the FBI terror watch list. He was eventually allowed on a flight, but, said Shehab, "To know that the government puts me on the list as bin Laden and whatnot . . . that's scary."
But these charges were bogus, Reinhard explains.
Here's what actually happened at LAX: Shehab Ahmed did miss one plane home to Portland, but only because he got to the airport late. When he tried to get on another flight, there was a problem—a momentary one. Shehab's name matched a name on the terror watch list. The ticket agent asked for ID, and Shehab was allowed on the flight to Portland.
And here's what did not happen: Ahmed wasn't on the watch list or put on it. He was not told he couldn't fly home; he was allowed on the flight he wanted to be on after providing ID. He wasn't yanked out line or taken to a special room for questioning by government agents. In fact, government agents—TSA personnel—were not involved in any of this. What happened to Shehab that March day isn't found in any TSA or FBI report; there was no incident to report.
But the incident was written up – by Shehab himself on his blog. The original posting is now gone, but google.com has helpfully cached it. Titled "Apparently I'm on the FBI Watchlist," Shehab recounts the inconvenience he encountered that day. On telling his father what happened, he recounts, the latter responded oddly: "Instead of getting the expected response of 'what? Seriously? Are you OK? What happened? Etc.' My dad was like 'great, I'll call my contacts at Channel 8 and 6 and see what we can get.'"
When confronted with this evidence of his falsehood, the elder Ahmed for months did nothing. Finally, when approached for this story by Reinhard, he did acknowledge that he quickly learned his son was not on the watch list and said "I apologize for escalating it beyond that." (Apparently, the television station contacted him on another matter and he took advantage of the opportunity to tell his son's tale of woe.)
Aug. 31, 2006 update: Patrick Poole tells the tale of Musa Shteiwi and his son Essa, our hoaxers #9.
The story that developed in July  was just too good to pass up: a Jordanian-born restaurant owner in Xenia, Ohio had been the apparent victim of repeated attempts to burn down his store. The day after the third attack, when a Molotov cocktail had been thrown through the front window of his business, yet another explosion rocked the store – the second attack in 24 hours – sending the owner and his son to the hospital with burns over 80-90 percent of their bodies. An employee in an adjoining store was also taken to the hospital for injuries.
Just hours before the blast, the store owner had been interviewed by a local TV station vowing that he would never give in to pressure to close the store (video of the interview can be seen here).
Problem was, this story of anti-Muslim hatred in small-town America wasn't true.
Arson investigators have determined that the final blast that severely injured the store owner, Musa Shteiwi, and his son, Essa, was set by the pair themselves. In a performance worthy of a Darwin Award, the Shteiwis were standing in a pool of gasoline that they intended to use as an accelerant in setting their store ablaze later that night when Musa Shteiwi took a break and lit up a cigarette, igniting the gasoline prematurely and causing the blast that inflicted their injuries.
But there's more: prosecutors claim that Shteiwi had hired a former employee, Joshua Hunter, to commit the previous attacks against his store that CAIR had insisted were hate crimes committed by non-Muslim members of the Xenia community. Hunter has been jailed and charged with arson, and similar charges against Musa and Essa Shteiwi are pending until after they have recovered from their injuries.
Mar. 19, 2009 update: Hoaxer #10 is the notorious ex-mufti of Australia, Taj ad-Din al-Hilali. One can hardly improve on the account by Natalie O'Brien and Angus Hohenboken, "Hilali kicks door, blames vandals," in the Australian:
The head imam at the Lakemba mosque, who caused outrage in 2006 by comparing scantily clad women to uncovered meat, was shown on a CCTV security tape kicking open the door just minutes before reporting the incident. The Nine Network's A Current Affair last night broadcast the videotape from March 9, showing the incident, which Sheik Hilali initially denied. "There is a trick in this camera. There is a trick in this film," he told ACA.
But in a letter sent by Sheik Hilali's lawyers to ACA yesterday, he admitted kicking the door, saying the damage had already been done to the door before he kicked it. "What he did do was to kick open a door to the mosque that had already been damaged by others in order to gain entry to it," the letter said. …
The footage shows four young men locking the door behind them at 10.28pm. Nine minutes later, Sheik Hilali checks the lock and pushes on the top of the door, bending it on its hinges. After checking the corridor, he disappears from view before rushing towards it and kicking it open at 10.46pm.
June 11, 2010 update: Noor Ramjanally, 36, called a Muslim community leader in Loughton, Essex, United Kingdom, hoaxer #11, got hoist on his own petard, reports the Daily Mail: "Ramjanally told Essex police he was kidnapped by BNP members on August, 24 last year and driven to Epping Forest where he claimed he was told: 'We don't want Loughton Islamic Group in Loughton'." He
told police he was bungled into the back of a car by two racist men outside his flat after he started holding prayer sessions. However, Ramjanally's "pack of lies" were exposed when he was caught out by secret CCTV cameras installed to protect him after previous claims that he was being targeted. Footage showed that at the time of the alleged attack, the father-of-one was getting into a taxi outside his home. He was also caught on camera later at a local Homebase [a house-improvement store].
The cameras had been installed after Ramjanally claimed his home … – where he lived with his wife and son – was firebombed and that he was sent hate mail. More than £100,000 was spent on the investigation into his allegations which wasted more than 900 hours of police time. He was given a two-year sentence in his absence after failing to attend Chelmsford Crown Court in Essex today. It is believed Ramjanally has returned to his native Mauritius.
In addition, "The court heard after the verdict that Ramjanally is being investigated for three other allegations. One relates to money stolen from a mosque he was involved with, the second is over benefit fraud and the third is to do with his immigration status."
July 8, 2010 update: The Associated Press nicely sums up the mosque arson case of #12, Tamsir Lucien Mendy:
MARIETTA, Ga. - Officials say a 26-year-old man has been arrested and charged with setting fire to a Marietta mosque he had attended. Marietta fire marshal Scott Tucker said Thursday that Tamsir Mendy was arrested Wednesday night and charged with first degree arson at the mosque, which caught fire Monday night. Tucker says Mendy is being held without bond. Tucker says Mendy describes himself as a devout Muslim who had attended the mosque. Tucker didn't characterize a motive but says it doesn't appear to be a hate crime. Tucker says the arrest is "a bit of a surprise" to members of the mosque, who had expressed concern that the fire might be hate crime. Tucker said earlier that the fire did about $100,000 worth of damage.
Tamsir Lucien Mendy, accused of setting fire to the mosque he attends.
CAIR's "Honest Ibe" Hooper was a tad less categorical than usual in calling on the FBI to investigate and denouncing anti-Muslim bigots (maybe even he can be embarrassed getting it wrong so often):
Given the recent wave of incidents targeting American mosques, a possible bias motive for this apparent arson attack must be considered. Unfortunately, there is a vocal minority in our society promoting anti-Muslim bigotry, and that minority is experiencing little or no pushback from mainstream religious and political leaders.
July 28, 2010 update: Case #13 involves two 22-year-old female students in London, Yasmin (wearing a hijab) and Atoofa (wearing a niqab), claiming they were refused access to a No. 7 bus in Russell Square because of their Islamic dress. But a video recording showed that the bus driver justifiably denied them service because of their "abusive behaviour towards bus driver and other passengers." The CCTV of the incident shows the women, reports the London Evening Standard, :banging on the front doors and attempting to board the bus when it had come to the end of its run. They then get on through the rear doors and begin arguing with the driver. They get off and wait[ed] for the bus to start its journey back to Paddington - but another exchange follows, and the driver refuses to set off unless they disembark."
Nov. 19, 2010 update: For details of Case #14 involving a burqa'ed woman, Carnita Matthews, and an Australian highway patrol officer, see "Niqabs and Burqas as Security Threats."
Jan 11, 2012 update: A firebombing of the apartment belonging to a Moroccan Muslim man, conspicuous in his traditional djellaba and beard, was reported in Heerhugowaard, the Netherlands, on Sep. 24. The victim claimed to have asked some local youth to keep it quiet, which instead made him the victim of their racist bullying. The fire caused considerable damage and one neighbor had to be rescued by ladder. But the police today arrested three family members, ages 16, 24 and 41, on charges of insurance fraud and arson. The police believe the 24-year-old had both rented the apartment and then set it on fire, making this Case #15.
Nov. 9, 2012 update: Case #16 concerns the discovery of a hijab-wearing Iraqi immigrant Shaima Alawadi, 32, bludgeoned to death in her home near San Diego in March 2012. CAIR and other Islamist groups ran with the contents of a note found near her body, "This is my country/go back to yours/Terrorist." The Investigative Project on Terrorism recalls:
A Facebook page called for "a Million Hijab March" to protest the killing. Activists likened her case to the Florida shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin. … Dawud Walid, who leads the Michigan office for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was among those who pushed the hate crime theory. "Shaima Al-Awadi's murder, like Trayvon Martin's, was a senseless murder based upon racial animus," he said. "We must come together as a society to have frank discussions about the toxic rhetorical environment which we currently live in that leads to such wanton violence."
Kassim Alhimidi grieving, with a picture of his wife, whom he is now accused of murdering.
Now we learn that Alawadi's husband, Kassim Alhimidi, 48, was arrested and charged with first degree murder. According to Sura Alzaidy, a family friend quoted in the San Diego Union-Tribune back in March, Alhimidi and her father "worked together in San Diego as private contractors for the U.S. Army, serving as cultural advisers to train soldiers who were going to be deployed to the Middle East." No word of apology yet from CAIR about its accusations of "racial animus." July 25, 2013 update: Alhimidi has pleaded not guilty but video surveillance tapes establish he is lying. July 26, 2013 update: San Diego County Superior Court Judge Lantz Lewis ordered Alhimidi to stand trial for killing his wife. Apr. 17, 2014 update: A jury found Alhimidi guilty of first-degree murder. He faces 26 years to life in prison. June 23, 2014 update: The judge sentenced Alhimidi to serve 26 years before he is eligible for parole, but he gets credit for time already served since his November 2012 arrest.
Feb. 21, 2013 update: Case #17 comes from Wörgl, Austria. A gasoline explosion on Feb. 2 went off in a restaurant owned by Albanians and a nearby Turkish clubhouse for Turks was set on fire, both accompanied by racist and anti-Islamic graffiti, complete with swastika symbols. But a little investigating revealed that the owners of the pizzeria themselves set it on fire. "It was entirely a criminal offense, and not a xenophobic attack," the police explained; they also noted that financial troubles appear to have motivated the arson. Of four suspects, two are in custody, one is on the loose, and one is in a hospital, being treated for severe burns (whoops) from the crime. The affecting signs condemning racism have been put away for the time being.
The bombed pizzeria in Wörgl, Austria.
Nov. 14, 2013 update: Hoaxer #18 is the imam of the mosque in Pau, southern France, who himself adorned his own mosque with Arabic graffiti ("dictator Qaddafi," "infidels", "Christians", "unfair") which he then claimed to be a hate crime.
The graffiti outside Pau's mosque.
Dec. 27, 2014 update: Not quite a hoax but related: Immediately after vandals attacked the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno on Christmas Day, Police Chief Jerry Dyer labeled it a "hate crime." But the suspect arrested turns out to be Asif Mohammad Khan, 28, a Muslim who had attended the mosque and acted out in response to being bullied by mosque members.
Related Topics: Criminality, Muslims in the West
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