Hate crimes targeting Jewish and Muslim Americans are increasing following the conflict between Israel and Hamas. In Ohio, a man is currently facing criticism for purportedly fabricating one such incident.
On the 22nd of October, Hesham A. Ayyad reached out to the North Ridgeville, Ohio police, stating that he had been hit by a car. The 20-year-old, who sustained injuries, claimed that the occurrence was driven by racial motives.
The day following the assault, additional information surfaced. Ayyad, who is of Palestinian-American descent, recounted that he was on his way home after having lunch when an individual in a car decelerated, shouting, “Kill all Palestinians” and “Long live Israel.” Subsequently, he asserted that the person deliberately directed their vehicle towards him. The individual executed a U-turn, returned, struck him with the car, and exclaimed, “DIE!”
Ayyad’s accusations prompted the Muslim civil rights organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), to advocate for a police inquiry. Faten Odeh, representing CAIR-Ohio, expressed the expectation that both the police and FBI would gather comprehensive information to potentially charge the alleged perpetrator with a hate crime. Odeh further emphasized the importance of ensuring that Muslims feel secure while engaging in everyday activities such as walking down the street.
CAIR’s request was fulfilled as the police conducted an investigation. However, the results turned out to be considerably different from what the group probably expected.
Upon examining footage from surveillance cameras in the vicinity, the police allegedly observed Ayyad engaged in a physical altercation with his 19-year-old brother, Khalil A. Ayyad. Contrary to the initial claim of a car accident, the incident appeared to be a physical altercation involving his sibling.
Both individuals were apprehended by law enforcement and faced charges of assault and domestic violence. Additionally, Hesham Ayyad was charged with offenses including making false alarms, obstructing official business, and falsification.
Instances of fabricating hate crimes are not unprecedented. In 2019, actor Jussie Smollett, who is both black and gay, faced severe repercussions for falsely asserting that he was attacked by supporters of then-President Donald Trump in Chicago.
Smollett claimed it was a hate crime, but subsequent investigation by law enforcement revealed that the incident was entirely staged, leading to his prosecution.