Oct 17, 2008
ELMHURST, Ill. (STNG) ― A Muslim student who claimed she was attacked at Elmhurst College in what school officials described as a hate crime has now been charged with making up the story.
Safia Z. Jilani, 19, of Oak Brook, told police that on Oct. 9, a masked, male attacker struck her in the head with a handgun after she entered a restroom in the Schaible Science Center on campus, according to a release from Elmhurst police.
Police found threatening graffiti -- "Kill the Muslims" -- written on a mirror in the restroom, students and police said. Earlier Thursday, the victim had spoken at a demonstration called to denounce anti-Islamic slurs and a swastika she had discovered Oct. 2 on her locker, school officials said.
But late Friday afternoon, Elmhurst police announced that a weeklong investigation determined the assault never occurred; there was no gunman; and Jilani was arrested on a warrant for filing a false police report, a Class 4 felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison.
Bond was set at $10,000 for Jilani, who posted $1,000 and was released, according to DuPage County State's Attorney's office spokesman Paul Darrah. Her next court hearing is Nov. 17 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Kathryn Creswell.
The initial report of the attack triggered a lockdown at the college while police searched the campus and prompted hundreds of students to rally again the following day to protest the incident.
Officials at the 3,300-student private college -- which has about 30 Muslim students -- denounced the attack and promised to increase security on campus, including offers of rides for Muslim students to and from classes.
(Source: Sun-Times News Group Wire
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