Police are investigating an online claim alleging an individual wearing an Israeli flag attacked a Muslim student Tuesday near the University North Carolina, Chapel Hill — but so far say there is no evidence the attack took place.
The UNC Muslim Students Association claimed on its Instagram page Thursday that a Muslim student was attacked with a knife by “an individual wearing an Israeli flag” on the evening of Oct. 31 on Franklin Street.
A UNC Chapel Hill police spokesperson told the News & Observer the only evidence they have of the alleged attack is a social media post, and no one reported the incident to their department.
“Was a student attacked on Franklin Street? Neither Chapel Hill Police nor UNC-Chapel Hill can confirm this attack happened as described,” the newspaper reported Nov. 1
“According to the UNC police blotter, no incidents of assault or harassment were reported around 6 p.m. Tuesday evening,” the Observer reported in a fact-check piece.
“Additionally, Chapel Hill police said no one has reported this crime. The department currently does not have any evidence of the attack happening, outside of the social media post, according to police spokesperson Alex Carrasquillo,” the newspaper reported.
The alleged attacked happened on Halloween night on Franklin Street, a very popular and heavily traversed road next to campus.
The News & Observer reported that its request to the association for more information has not been answered.
The reports of the alleged attack appear to have come from Instagram posts by the UNC Muslim Students Association.
In an Oct. 31 Instagram story, the association wrote: “Attention: There are pro-Israeli people on Franklin attacking Muslim students. Please stay away from the area, especially if you’re hijabi, and be careful,” according to the News & Observer.
In a Nov. 1 statement, the Chapel Hill Police Department said it was aware of “a social media post describing an assault of a community member who is Muslim” and was working to contact the victim and investigate.
The Muslim Students Association stated the student is not available for media interviews.
“We thank law enforcement for investigating this incident and we encourage any interested reporters to contact them for additional information,” it wrote on Instagram.
However, the allegations have raised questions.
The activism group Stop Antisemitism posted on X:
“If this is true, it’s awful. Where can we find more details – a police report? media not reporting on it?”
The College Fix could not find any alerts about an assault or similar incident on Alert Carolina, an emergency alert system for UNC students, their families and local residents.
A message, which appears to have been sent by the Muslim student group to its members earlier this week, stated that “police were present on the scene and are aware of the situation,” according to an X post by Abed Ayoub, executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
The hate doesn’t stop. A Muslim student in NC was attacked with a knife by an individual with an Israel flag.— Abed A. Ayoub (@aayoub) November 1, 2023
Our students are under attack in the US. The Biden Administration needs to do more to protect Arab, Palestinian, and Muslim students on campus. pic.twitter.com/4LETOXNQ3R
A spokesperson for the department confirmed to The Daily Tar Heel, the UNC Chapel Hill student newspaper, that police did speak “to someone who anonymously identified as a victim and, while respecting their anonymity, we are still working to determine what happened.”
Police also told the student newspaper, as of Wednesday afternoon, no one had filed an official incident report, but they continue to investigate. Police asked anyone with information to call 911 or contact the Chapel Hill Police Department.
“The circumstances that were described in the post must not be tolerated in our community,” Chapel Hill Police Chief Celisa Lehew said in a statement.
“It is important that anyone who has information reach out to us as soon as possible. We recognize the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community and will continue to work carefully to ensure an environment where everyone feels safe and respected.”
Since Oct. 7 when Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, killing more than 1,200 civilians, there has been a wave of attacks targeting Jewish students and Israel supporters at U.S. higher education institutions.
On Oct. 12 at UNC Chapel Hill, an Israeli professor was pushed during a pro-Palestinian protest, WRAL News reported.
Last week, a pro-Palestine protest turned violent at Tulane University and three students were assaulted, The College Fix reported. And at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, a Jewish student’s door was set on fire.
Meanwhile, students who were arrested at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst during a pro-Palestinian sit-in last week were arraigned on trespassing charges.