On Thursday, the New York City Police Department responded to an alleged attack on a 20-year-old woman who said she was slashed on the cheek in lower Manhattan. According to the New York Daily News, she told authorities she was walking toward Trinity Church when someone on Wall Street grabbed her from behind and slashed her face, leaving a 2-inch cut.
The woman, who wore a headscarf but was not identified by the Daily News as Muslim, reported the attack as a hate crime to police, saying the assailant had called her a terrorist.
However, on Friday police said the woman confessed to making up the story. The Daily News reported that no one had attacked her at all — she admitted the the gash was self-inflicted.
The woman's accusations come amid a dramatic uptake of random slashings in the city. As of February, there had been a total of 567 slashing attacks so far in 2016, representing about a 20% increase from the previous year. In March Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the NYPD will begin to investigate the seemingly random slashings with the same aggressiveness with which the force investigates murder, to curb the spate of attacks.
What's more, this false report could be dangerous during a time when Islamophobia continues to plague the country. Following recent terrorist attacks, Muslims have been the target of racist policy proposals and 38 hate crimes just within the month following the Paris attacks.
And for many more Muslims, hate crimes are no lie.