Did a student in a hijab really punch her attacker? Well, not exactly…
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A video of a Muslim girl punching a man who tried to pull off her veil went viral in the United States over the weekend... Except that the footage was actually just a joke by two high school kids.
“Welcome to Washburn” says the caption on the video, referring to Washburn High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The video was first posted on SnapChat on Friday, January 13, and people quickly started sharing it on Facebook.
Those who shared the video online claimed that it showed a student of Somali origin fighting a classmate who tried to pull off her veil. The administrators of the Facebook page for “World Hijab Day” even shared the video, writing: “He pulled the hijab [off] of [the] wrong girl! *MUST WATCH* “
And people did watch. The video was viewed more than 6.5 million times according to reports in the American media. Many people left comments on the video — most of them cheering for the young woman.
Just a "play fight"
The video was so widely shared that the spokesperson for the school district, Dirk Tedmon, made a statement on Saturday. He said he had spoken to the students in the video as well as their families. It turns out that the flying fists on camera were just part of a “play fight” and that the video was intended as a joke.
School safety and security staff also confirmed that there had been no fights on campus.
“We want to make sure our families know the school community works continually to keep our buildings safe,” he said, adding that an environment that is “culturally sensitive to all our students is a priority.”
Despite these clarifications from school personnel, the video is still being shared widely — with a false description, of course.