The Slatest

NYPD Says Story About Muslim Teenager Being Verbally Assaulted on Subway Is a Hoax

Yasmin Seweid talks about how she was verbally harrassed on the New York subway on Thursday.

CBS New York

Update, Dec. 14, 2016: Nearly two weeks after what appeared to be a horrifying incident on the New York City subway, the NYPD announced that the apparent hate crime never happened, and Muslim teenager Yasmin Seweid made up the story that she was harassed by three drunk white men on the subway who shouted Trump slogans and tried to pull off her hijab. The 18-year-old has been charged with filing a false report and obstructing governmental administration.

Original post, “NY Subway Riders Stand By as Three Men Verbally Assault Muslim Teenager,” Dec. 4, 2016: Three white men who were apparently intoxicated repeatedly yelled anti-Islam insults at a Muslim student in the New York City subway and no one did anything. The men, who yelled “Donald Trump!” several times and even tried to pull off the terrified 18-year-old’s hijab, also accused her of being a terrorist. This all took place at around 10 p.m. on Thursday night on the 6 train as Yasmin Seweid was returning home from Baruch College.

“I heard them talk, but I had my headphones in, I wasn’t really listening, I had a long day. And they came closer and I distinctly heard them saying, ‘Donald Trump,’ ” she told the local CBS affiliate. Although there have been a spate of racist incidents across the United States since the election, this one was particularly shocking because it happened in New York and it seem no one tried to step in to help Seweid.

“They were surrounding me from behind and they were like, ‘Oh look, it’s an f—ing terrorist,’ ” she said. “I didn’t answer. They pulled my strap of the bag and it ripped, and that’s when I turned around and I was really polite and I was like, ‘can you please leave me alone?’ and everyone was looking, no one said a thing, everyone just looked away.”

She later wrote about the incident on Facebook: “It breaks my heart that so many individuals chose to be bystanders while watching me get harassed verbally and physically by these disgusting pigs.” Seweid said at the time she didn’t have much time to think but after the incident, the way no one came to her aid “made me really sad,” she told the New York Daily News. “People were looking at me and looking at what was happening and no one said a thing. They just looked away.”

This marks the latest in a growing wave of these types of incidents in New York and across the country (Slate is compiling a running list). From Nov. 8 through Nov. 27, New York law enforcement officials said there were 34 reported incidents, compared with 13 in the same period last year.