Uthman Ibn Farooq, the San Diego Muslim preacher who told the world he was stabbed by a white racist in March 2022, has responded to an FWI story indicating that the stabbing never took place.
In a YouTube video posted earlier today (Oct. 20), Uthman claimed to debunk FWI's reporting, but provided no details about the identity of the attacker. He did state, however, that his unnamed attacker had been arrested on hate crime charges, pleaded guilty to lesser charges, and is now serving time in jail and could be transferred to a prison for the rest of his sentence. Uthman said he has forgiven his attacker and hopes to visit him in jail so he can invite him into the fold of Islam.
There's just one problem: The San Diego County District Attorney, which most likely would have been responsible for prosecuting Uthman's attacker in court, has no record of the case.
"Our office has not received this case for review from any law enforcement agency," stated Tanya Sierra, public information officer for the San Diego County District Attorney's office, indicating that the court proceedings that Uthman described with such clarity in the video never took place.
The pushback against FWI's reporting began on Wednesday when Mohammed Salah, who purports to be from Kuwait, took to Twitter to spread the message that Uthman did not report the incident to San Diego Police Department but to the La Mesa Police Department (LMPD), whose jurisdiction ends nearly twelve miles away from the apparent location of the alleged stabbing.
The implication, made explicit in Uthman's video, was that FWI had reached out to the wrong police department about the case and had misreported the story as a result.
Salah's Tweets were deleted soon after they were posted.
In response to the deleted Tweets, FWI reached out to Uthman's nonprofit, the One Message Foundation (OMF), via its online chat application asking for the details about the LMPD's involvement in the case. In response, an OMF staffer declared, "You are at the wrong place. Please contact the Police Department." When asked which police department FWI should contact — San Diego or La Mesa — the staffer typed back, "Try both."
An official from the LMPD stated it has no record whatsoever of a police report or an arrest related to the incident. The San Diego Police Department had said the same thing earlier in the week.
Uthman maintained in his video that he is ready and willing to provide details and records about the case to any "real" news organization, but not FWI, which he described as "this little Islamophobic website, someone sitting in his basement."
Uthman chided FWI for not reaching out to him directly, suggesting that if it had, he would have provided the publication with paperwork from the San Diego County's Probation Department confirming the details of his story.
"So, no need for all of this, but those guys have to make up some kind of lies," he said. "They gotta find some way to discredit the amazing dawah that's going on."
Prior to publication, FWI reached out to Uthman via his social media accounts and via his email. It attempted to reach out to Uthman by phone as well. The publication never got a response.
Uthman claimed that he provided a copy of the arrest report to Al Jazeera which covered the attack, but a web search indicates that no such story existed. (An article at Al Jazeera Mubashar — "Al Jazeera Live" — published soon after the alleged attack includes no mention of an arrest or of an arrest report.)
The episode could prove to be an embarrassment for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) which came to Uthman's defense soon after he posted the video about the alleged attack in March.
CAIR called on its supporters to contact the San Diego Police Department if they had information about the "cowardly" attack, (which it deemed "Islamophobic" through the use of an "Islamophobia" hashtag on Twitter).
Tazheen Nizam, executive director of CAIR San Diego, said she would speak with Uthman to see what his "thought process" was and that she would let Ibrahim Cooper, CAIR's national communications director, "work through a statement" with Uthman.
Hooper has not responded to a request for comment.
Ahnaf Kalam is a writer for Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.