One of the strongest commandments in the Quran is not to bear false witness.
[4:135] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether the accused is rich or poor, GOD takes care of both. Therefore, do not be biased by your personal wishes. If you deviate or disregard (this commandment), then GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.
يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ إِنْ يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَاللَّهُ أَوْلَىٰ بِهِمَا فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوَىٰ أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا وَإِنْ تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا
[5:8] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses. Do not be provoked by your conflicts with some people into committing injustice. You shall be absolutely equitable, for it is more righteous. You shall observe GOD. GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.
يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
And one of the examples in the Quran of someone committing false witness is that of the governor’s wife against Joseph. Twice the governor’s wife made false accusations against Joseph and both times eventually Joseph was vindicated when the truth was revealed that he was innocent. Upon the second instance, the governor’s wife explains the reasons for her motivation.
[12:53] “I do not claim innocence for myself. The self is an advocate of vice, except for those who have attained mercy from my Lord. My Lord is Forgiver, Most Merciful.”
وَمَا أُبَرِّئُ نَفْسِي إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ إِلَّا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّي إِنَّ رَبِّي غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
From this verse we see that the motivation for such actions is purely selfish, and provides an attempt for someone to benefit themselves at the expense of those they harm. God informs us of the seriousness of such crimes.
[4:112] Anyone who earns a sin, then accuses an innocent person thereof, has committed a blasphemy and a gross offense.
وَمَنْ يَكْسِبْ خَطِيئَةً أَوْ إِثْمًا ثُمَّ يَرْمِ بِهِ بَرِيئًا فَقَدِ احْتَمَلَ بُهْتَانًا وَإِثْمًا مُبِينًا
While this is more apparent when directed towards an individual who may suffer the direct consequences of such accusations, sometimes this is lost when the accusations are made towards a large group or institution. For instance, if someone commits a sin and blames their neighbor, that person’s neighbor will feel the full force of the accusation and their suffering will be clearly displayed for all to see. Perhaps the slanderous accusation can cause the single person accused to have their reputation tarnished, which could cause them to lose their job, and therefore lose their house, destroy their marriage, or even potentially be sent to prison like was done in the case of Joseph. Therefore when the accusation is addressed solely to a single person the downfall of the such accusations falls entirely on that individual and their close relationships. But this is not the case when the accusation is made against a group. When such accusations are made against a large group or institution, it is the entire group that suffers. People may choose to not continue work with that institution, or behave differently with that institution. The individuals who are part of that institution may have their reputations impacted for their affiliation by such accusations. While the overall damage to any one individual may not be as apparent the aggregate consequences to all the people associated with that institution are no less severe.
Now what if the accusation is against an entire nation?
Today many individuals have claimed that not only is America systematically racist, but that they were the direct victims of these kind of hate crimes in society. But when police investigated the incident they found that it was a fabrication created by the supposed victim. This does not mean that legitimate hate crimes do not happen, but interesting that typically the ones that were the most egregious that would warrant the attention of the corporate media were the ones that fell into this pattern. But ironically while the media would cover the sensationalized accusation more often than not they failed to report the correction when the case was proven to be a hoax.
[4:85] Whoever mediates a good deed receives a share of the credit thereof, and whoever mediates an evil work, incurs a share thereof. GOD controls all things.
مَنْ يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً حَسَنَةً يَكُنْ لَهُ نَصِيبٌ مِنْهَا وَمَنْ يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً سَيِّئَةً يَكُنْ لَهُ كِفْلٌ مِنْهَا وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُقِيتًا
The most notable example of this in recent times was with Jussie Smollett who on On January 29, 2019, told police that he was attacked outside his apartment building by two men in ski masks. He reported they called him racial and homophobic slurs and said “this is MAGA country.” He claimed they used their hands, feet, and teeth as weapons in the assault. According to a statement released by the Chicago Police Department, the two suspects then “poured an unknown liquid” on Smollett and put a noose around his neck. Celebrities, politicians, and the media ran with this story denouncing Trump and his supporters and perpetuating the lie that America is systematically racist. But luckily it wasn’t long before it became apparent that the whole thing was a hoax.
At first glance, it may seem like aside from the time and money wasted this was a victimless crime, but this is because no one person was falsely accused of such actions. Instead this was a crime against all of the American society. When people hear of such supposed disturbing actions by Americans it adds an element of distrust to every member of society who was impacted when they first heard of such an incident. Maybe it causes people to be a little less kind among one another, or more suspicious, or apprehensive towards other members of society that further drives a wedge among the people. And I would expect that the aggregate damage a false narrative like this has is in many ways greater than if the crime was targeted towards a sole individual.
But this isn’t an isolated case, on June 24, 2020 in Madison, WI, eighteen-year-old Althea Bernstein, who is a black women, claimed four white men yelled racial slurs at her and threw lighter fluid on her face and set her on fire while she was driving waiting at a traffic light. Her story was uncritically reported across the nation CNN, NBC, Good Morning America, and most major print publications told a horrific story. Her story was even told in a floor speech by Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D., Mass.), and she even received a phone call from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Bernstein was also included in the NFL’s list of “victims of systemic racism, victims of police brutality, and social justice heroes,” and her name has been featured this season on the helmet of players such as the Atlanta Falcon’s Todd Gurley.
But after an extensive investigation by the FBI and police department they concluded that after reviewing all available surveillance video in the vicinity that there was no corroborating evidence that that a “hate crime” ever took place against Bernstein.
“After reviewing all available evidence, authorities could not establish that the attack, as alleged by the complainant, had occurred,” U.S. attorney Scott Blader said in a Friday statement on October 2nd, 2020. A statement from Madison’s chief of police stated that “detectives were unable to corroborate or locate evidence consistent with what was reported.”
As of this publication, none of the articles listed above have corrected their reporting, yet people are still finding this story as a fact that actually happened.
Another incident occurred in September 2019 when Edawn Coughman, who played in both the NFL and Canadian football leagues, was arrested and charged with insurance fraud and filing a phony police report when claiming of a robbery and hate crime. Coughman owned an ice-cream parlor, Coughman’s Creamery, in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and called police to report a burglary including of his television off his wall.
When officers came to investigate they found the word “MAGA”, a backward swastika, and slurs spray-painted on the walls. The paint was found to still be wet. The back door had been pried open, and officers noted yellow tool marks. But police soon found televisions with drywall still attached in the bed of Coughman’s truck (they were among the items purportedly stolen from his business). This was enough for them to obtain a search warrant. After serving it, they discovered spray-paint cans in Coughman’s car, along with a crowbar with a paint job that matched the marks on the Creamery’s back door.
12-Year Old Hate Crime
In the same month as the incident above, a twelve-year-old black student who attended the same school that the Second Lady of the United States, Karen Pence works part-time for, said three white boys from her school, cut off her forcefully cut hair.
The child – who NBC Washington takes the time to note is a straight-A student and violin player – said the boys started bullying her at the beginning of the school year. She has attended the school since kindergarten and has always liked it.
The child, claimed that one day during recess as she was about to go down a slide one of the boys grabbed her and put a hand over her mouth. Another boy grabbed her arms. A third boy cut off some of her hair. As expected this garnered major news coverage.
But it wasn’t long before Stephen Danis, the principal at Immanuel, said in a note to parents, according to The Washington Post:
“We can now confirm that the student who accused three of her classmates of assault has acknowledged that the allegations were false. We’re grateful to the Fairfax County Police Department for their diligent work to investigate these allegations,”
The girl’s family has apologized in a statement…
“To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused,” Allen’s grandparents wrote in a statement, according to WaPo.
“To the administrators and families of Immanuel Christian School, we are sorry for the damage this incident has done to trust within the school family and the undue scorn it has brought to the school. To the broader community, who rallied in such passionate support for our daughter, we apologize for betraying your trust.”
This concept of hoax hate crimes were so popular That Reddit had an entire subreddit tracking the hundreds of cases before Reddit shut the subreddit down for being insensitive. Additionally, to emphasize that this is not a one off case, here is an article listing of a dozen more compiled by an article from Dennis Prager, entitled “If America Is So Racist, Why Are There So Many Race Hoaxes?“
[17:36] You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.
وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
[49:6] O you who believe, if a wicked person brings any news to you, you shall first investigate, lest you commit injustice towards some people, out of ignorance, then become sorry and remorseful for what you have done.
يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَنْ تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ
What is causing the surge in hoax hate crimes?
During the British colonization of India the government was concerned about the number of venomous cobras in Delhi. As a solution the government offered to pay individuals a bounty for every dead cobra that they produced. Initially this was a successful strategy as large numbers of snakes were killed by people to claim the reward. Eventually, however, individuals realized they can make more money breeding cobras rather than finding them in the wild. When the government became aware of this, the reward program was scrapped, causing the cobra breeders to set the worthless snakes free; the wild cobra population further increased.
Satan was the first racist when he proclaimed the reason to refusing to follow God’s command.
[7:12] He said, “What prevented you from prostrating when I ordered you?” He said, “I am better than he; You created me from fire, and created him from mud.”
قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِنْ نَارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِنْ طِينٍ
So it is natural to despise such behavior in society, but there has recently been a shift in society that is due to the post modernist philosophy that propagates whoever is the most victimized in society should garner the most respect. Notice the stark contrast from decades ago where status and respect was tied to achievement and people would constantly boast about the things they have done to bolster their supposed achievements. This is in contrast to today’s society that favors the one who can claim that status of being the most victimized.
Therefore people, groups, organizations are in a constant arms race to show how marginalized they are in society. This is worn as a badge of honor in a twisted way to increase a person’s self worth in society.
But what is the value we should all be competing for according to the Quran?
[5:48] …You shall compete in righteousness. To GOD is your final destiny—all of you—then He will inform you of everything you had disputed.
فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
[49:13] O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant.
يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ
[2:177] Righteousness is not turning your faces towards the east or the west. Righteous are those who believe in GOD, the Last Day, the angels, the scripture, and the prophets; and they give the money, cheerfully, to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the traveling alien, the beggars, and to free the slaves; and they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat); and they keep their word whenever they make a promise; and they steadfastly persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and war. These are the truthful; these are the righteous.
لَيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَنْ تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ
[90:10] Did we not show him the two paths? [90:11] He should choose the difficult path. [90:12] Which one is the difficult path? [90:13] The freeing of slaves. [90:14] Feeding, during the time of hardship. [90:15] Orphans who are related. [90:16] Or the poor who is in need. [90:17] And being one of those who believe, and exhorting one another to be steadfast, and exhorting one another to be kind.
[2:148] Each of you chooses the direction to follow; you shall race towards righteousness. Wherever you may be, GOD will summon you all. GOD is Omnipotent.
وَلِكُلٍّ وِجْهَةٌ هُوَ مُوَلِّيهَا فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ أَيْنَ مَا تَكُونُوا يَأْتِ بِكُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ