Teenager admits making up story of hate crime as an excuse for why she stayed out late
A Muslim student appeared in a New York court on Thursday to admit to inventing a story that she was harassed by Donald Trump supporters on the subway.
Yasmin Seweid, 18, told police that a group of drunken white men yelled “Donald Trump!” at her, and called her a terrorist. She wrote an emotional Facebook post, saying it had been “dehumanizing”, and provided police with a description of the suspects.
Inconsistencies in the tale were put down to trauma.
But then, last week, her strict Muslim parents reported that she had disappeared from her home – only to reappear the following day. Questioned by the police, she broke down and admitted that she had made the story up to cover for being out late with her friends.
Her parents, it emerged, also disapproved of her boyfriend.
“She had numerous opportunities to admit nothing happened, and she kept sticking by her story,” a police source said.
Seweid’s father, Syeed, 55, said he did not know why his daughter made up the story.
“I have no idea,” he said. “She’s the one that can speak for herself.”
Seweid appeared in court with her head shaved - an act of punishment allegedly carried out by her family. She faces a year in prison for false reporting.
But Albert Cahn, a lawyer for the New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said her case should not reduce concerns over legitimate claims of bias and harassment against Muslims.
“We’re very disturbed by these distressing developments, but we hope that they do not detract from the numerous reports coming from the Muslim community,” he said.
“Clearly this has been a trying time for her and her family. We hope that they receive all possible support in this moving forward. We still believe that anti-Muslim attacks are under reported.”
Police statistics show that reported hate crimes in the city more than doubled last month — with more than 43 cases, compared with just 20 in November 2015.