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Student indicted after scare at Elmhurst College
By Christy Gutowski | Daily Herald Staff

Safia Jilani

 

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Published: 11/14/2008 12:35 PM

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A DuPage County grand jury indicted a Muslim student at Elmhurst College on suspicion she lied when reporting a masked gunman assaulted her on campus, hours after she spoke at a diversity rally urging tolerance.

Safia Z. Jilani, 19, of Oak Brook is expected to plead not guilty Monday when arraigned on a felony charge of filing a false police report. If convicted, she faces a possible sentence of probation or up to three years in prison.

Prosecutors said Jilani told police her assailant beat her with a pistol about 8:30 p.m. Oct. 9 after she entered a washroom in the Schaible Science Center, where the masked man had scribbled racial slurs on the walls.

One week earlier, she reported finding anti-Muslim slogans and a swastika written inside of her locker. She said the incident prompted her to speak at the Oct. 9 diversity rally, where she read a poem advocating peace and understanding despite the actions against her.

Police investigated both reports as a hate crime, which caused a stir on campus, but they ended up arresting Jilani one week later after accusing her of making up both allegations to garner attention.

A grand jury indicted Jilani Thursday, according to court records released Friday. She is free on bond pending Monday's arraignment before DuPage Circuit Judge Kathryn Creswell in Wheaton.