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Elmhurst College student charged with making false police report
By Catherine Edman | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/17/2008 4:06 PM | Updated: 10/17/2008 5:24 PM

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Elmhurst police arrested a 19-year-old Elmhurst College student Friday who claimed last week to be the victim of a hate crime.

Safia Z. Jilani, 19, of Oak Brook, was charged with one felony count of filing a false police report and released on $10,000 bond.

Jilani told police she was attacked about 8:30 p.m. Oct. 9 after entering a bathroom in the Schaible Science Center by a gunman wearing a mask who made racial slurs. The Muslim student had spoken hours earlier at a diversity rally on campus.

Police found anti-Muslim graffiti written in marker in the bathroom.

Deputy Chief Jim Doherty, though, said on Friday that "there was no gunman and no attack."

Police are continuing to investigate her claim that a week before the alleged attack she found anti-Muslim slogans and a swastika written on the inside of her locker. That episode helped spark a campus-wide call for a diversity rally that promoted tolerance. Jilani read a poem there advocating peace and understanding despite the actions against her.

Hours later she reported walking into the bathroom in the science center and being confronted by a gunman wearing a mask who attacked her and struck her twice in the head with a pistol.

Despite earlier reports she was injured, Doherty said there were no signs of injuries "that were obvious."

He said officers quickly heard from people around campus that the event might not have occurred. While they did investigate the possibility an attacker existed, they later ruled it out.

Two detectives worked on the case full-time for the past week.

Filing a false police report is a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to one to three years in prison.