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Police: Ohio man allegedly lied about attack by pro-Israel driver

Hesham Ayyad, 20, falsely claimed that he was the victim of a violent, anti-Palestinian hate crime.

An injured man in Cleveland, Hesham Ayyad, falsely claimed to have been attacked by a pro-Israel driver on Oct. 22, 2023. Source: Screenshot/CAIR.
An injured man in Cleveland, Hesham Ayyad, falsely claimed to have been attacked by a pro-Israel driver on Oct. 22, 2023. Source: Screenshot/CAIR.

In an incident that appears to echo the “hate crime” that actor Jussie Smollett claimed to have experienced in Chicago, Hesham Ayyad told the Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Oct. 22 that he was a victim of a hate crime.

“An individual in a dark SUV reportedly hit the 20-year-old victim while he was walking,” CAIR stated at the time. “The victim of the reported hit and run said he was walking home from eating lunch when a car slowed down and rolled down the window. The driver of the car allegedly started yelling at him using anti-Palestinian statements like ‘Kill all Palestinians,’ ‘Long live Israel,’ as he swerved his car to intimidate the victim. The driver then allegedly turned around and hit the man while shouting ‘Die!’”

“We call on state, local and federal law-enforcement authorities to monitor and investigate crimes related to the rising Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism,” Faten Odeh, interim executive director of CAIR-Ohio in Cleveland said on Oct. 23.

After an investigation, police no longer believe Ayyad’s story. “Injuries sustained at the time of the incident were caused by a violent fight that the alleged victim had participated in with his brother, which was confirmed by area video surveillance,” the North Ridgeville Police Department stated.

Ayyad was arrested and charged with “making false alarms, falsification, obstructing official business, domestic violence and assault,” and his brother, 19-year-old Khalil Ayyad, was arrested and charged with domestic violence and assault, Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer reported.

CAIR’s press release now includes an update, which states in part: “We do not know anything about the latest developments other than what law enforcement has publicly alleged against the two brothers, who are represented by their own legal counsel.”

“If false statements were made about this incident, that is unacceptable and should be addressed by law enforcement accordingly,” CAIR added. “In the meantime, we strongly condemn those anti-Muslim extremists who are already flooding social media with hateful messages that dismiss or even justify the very real rise in threats against American Muslims and others who support Palestinian human rights.”

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