A 45-year-old French school teacher, who initially claimed that he was stabbed in his classroom by an ISIS supporter has admitted to inventing the entire story. The teacher’s story had a profound effect in light of the recent attacks in Paris carried out by ISIS and resulted in an outpour of xenophobic sentiments. News of the “false attack” on major news outlets had earlier sent shockwaves around Europe, still traumatised by the Paris attacks of November 13 that killed more 130 people. The teacher is hospitalised with non-life-threatening injuries and he has not been charged for any crime.

Police and security forces swarmed a Parisian suburb after a teacher claimed to have been attacked and stabbed by a masked man shouting support for ISIS. However, in an interview later at the hospital, the man admitted that he lied and made up the horrific story, according to a Paris prosecutor.

The male teacher, who has been teaching in Paris’ Aubervilliers neighbourhood for 20 years, had reportedly told authorities that a masked man had stabbed him in the throat and abdomen while shouting that the attack “was for Daesh” (Arabic name for ISIS) and “this is only the beginning”.

Questions were raised regarding the story’s authenticity even before he admitted, especially as the school guard said he did not see an attacker. But keeping in mind the recent attacks, security was tightened and police were on high alert.

The teacher is reportedly being interviewed again to determine as to why he claimed he was attacked.

This is not the first time that ISIS impersonators, hoaxer or self-wounded victims of hate crimes and terrorism have reported false stories to the police. In April 2015, Jason Paul Smith, 42, impersonated an Abdul Yasin, threatening to blow up the Statue of Liberty, which resulted in the evacuation of 3200 tourists from the popular tourist destination. In May 2015, a Jewish resident from Florida, Joshua Ryne Goldberg was arrested impersonating as an ISIS jihadist over the internet conveying information about making Boston Marathon style bombs and instigating the attacks on 9/11 memorial exhibition in Kansas city.

Regarding the recent stabbing hoax, it is important to note that the teacher has not been charged. He is hospitalised with no life threatening injuries. For some unknown reason, his name has not been released.

Last month’s attacks in Paris has already resulted in an anti-refugee atmosphere in Europe, especially in France, as the deadly attacks that claimed 130 lives were believed to be carried out by ISIS supporters. If timely action wasn’t taken to verify the authenticity of the teacher’s story, it could have acted as a catalyst accelerating Islamophobia and hatred against Muslims.

Tazeen Hasan, Correspondent (Europe)

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