[Update: The police and college have since accused the student, Safia Jilani, of making up the story. See our post.]
An un-named female Muslim student was attacked on the campus of Elmhurst College, outside Chicago. She had previously been harassed after participating in a rally calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay military prison. The story is getting plenty of coverage in the local media (and Huffington Post) and has been circulated by national Muslim organizations. From the Chicago Sun-Times:
The 19-year-old sophomore told police a masked, male attacker struck her in the head with a handgun about 8:30 p.m. Thursday after she entered a restroom in the school's Schaible Science Center. She suffered a concussion.
Threatening graffiti -- "Kill the Muslims" -- was written on a mirror in the restroom, students and police said.
Earlier Thursday, the victim had spoken at a demonstration called to denounce the anti-Islamic slurs and swastika she had discovered on Oct. 2 in her locker, school officials and students said. Among the slurs was the phrase "Die Muslims."
Both cases are being investigated as hate crimes, Elmhurst College spokesman Charley Henderson said.
More from a local ABC affiliate:
"She received a concussion, a bruise on her side, and she passed out," said Soofia Ahmed, a good friend of the victim. They are both Muslim, both born and raised in the Chicago area.
The college believes the incident may have been a hate crime.
"We're leaning that direction, yes, we are. Since this morning, a crime alert has been posted that does say this is reported as a hate crime," said Charles Henderson, Elmhurst College spokesman.
The same student who was attacked Thursday night discovered threatening graffiti in her locker just eight days ago. The words "Die Muslims, rid us of your filth" were scrawled in magic marker on her locker along with a swastika. It is front page news in the college newspaper and the school started an investigation.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the college is offering security escorts to Muslim students.
The woman's father said Friday that she said the gunman asked her: " 'Now who is going to protect you?' " He said his daughter replied: " 'God will protect me. . . . You can kill me, but you cannot take my soul.' "
Students have reported tensions on campus since students held a Sept. 18 rally to protest the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, and several witnesses reported that three female Muslim students, including the woman who reported the attack, were harassed and verbally threatened.
Read a statement from Elmhurst College's president, S. Alan Ray.