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FACT CHECK: Anti-Muslim videos misrepresent what happened

President Trump waits for reporters to leave after he spoke in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on Nov. 28, 2017, during a meeting with Republican congressional leaders. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Like much other propaganda, the anti-Muslim videos spread around by President Trump mix grains of truth, fakery and shades in between, overlaid with a message meant to be a blunt hammer blow for a cause.

Trump’s penchant for sharing doctored images and making false statements on Twitter means that content tweeted or retweeted by the president should be viewed skeptically.

His spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, suggested the veracity of the videos wasn’t a high priority amid concern over national security and strong borders, saying: “Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about.”

Here’s a look at known facts behind the videos tweeted by a far-right British fringe group and retweeted by Trump:

FALSE

One video shows a young man attacking another who is on crutches, near a river bank. It was originally posted to a Dutch viral video site in May and picked up by Dutch media. In her tweet, Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, wrote: “VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” But the victim was not attacked by a Muslim migrant.

“Facts do matter,” the Dutch Embassy in Washington said in a tweet directed at Trump. “The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands. He received and completed his sentence under Dutch law.”

APPARENTLY TRUE

One video shows a man, said to be a supporter of Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate then known as the Nusra Front, smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary. The Middle East Media Research Institute identified the man as Sheikk Omar Raghba. In the video, he declares that “idols” will no longer be worshipped in the Levant before he smashes the statue, half his size, in the Yakubiya village in northwestern Syria.

The circumstances are not verified, but the images ring true. It’s well-known that Islamic extremists target people and objects of other faiths — Christians, Jews, Muslims of other sects and movements — as well as indiscriminate populations. Also well-known: Anti-Muslim extremists in the U.S. and other countries of the West have torched mosques.

The video appeared online in 2013.

MISSING PIECES

One video, blurry and shaky, shows someone falling from the roof of an apparent elevator shaft, then at least one man punching the victim. “Islamist mob pushes a teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!” says the tweet introducing it.

The video was filmed days after the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi by Egypt’s military. In the video, a supporter of Morsi is seen roaming the roof of a building in the coastal city of Alexandria, raising a black flag often used by militants. Little else is obvious from the video except that a confrontation was unfolding on the roof. Perpetrators of the roof violence were sentenced to death for killing a boy and a man.

The wider context of those killings was ignored — the fact that both sides had blood on their hands. It was a time of violent protests by pro-Morsi protesters and a violent military crackdown. More than 1,000 people died in the military’s dispersal of Islamic protests.

About the author

Calvin Woodward

20 Comments

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  • Notice how this fact-checking article has zero comments but all the “Shariah Muslims are [email protected]! Aaaahhh!!!!” lunatics came out to attack the Muslim Public Affairs Council article? Trump supporters can’t deal with facts. They are a post-truth movement. That’s why the White House Minister of Propaganda, I mean Press Secretary, said yesterday that it doesn’t matter whether the videos are accurate or not.

  • Facts are FAKE NEWS 🙂

    I do worry that we’ve become a Post-fact society. How people feel trumps (pun intended) what the facts say.

    For example: Trump fans are quick to label WaPo fake news because they report facts that reflect negatively on Trump. Then, the Post releases a story about how a right wing org tried to literally create a fake news story by going “undercover” to WaPo. The resulting article educated the public as to how a real news org actually verfiies and checks facts before releasing an article (i.e. how journalism is done).

    Then, the same Trump fans proudly trumpet news reports from Breitbart et. al…that are unsourced or based on one person’s third hand claim. And that’s somehow NOT fake news.

    Fake News = Shit I don’t like or agree with..I guess.

  • Arb, I’m going to say something verging on nasty, only because of the reality of it.
    If any of the videos were false, I don’t know, I have not seen them, but, if any of them were, what difference does it make? ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hesbola will all try to make it true in the future anyway.

  • An American president does stuff like this? No wonder “Europe’s Merkel, Macron, May [are] less popular than Trump”! (Cf. Paul Bedard, Washinton Examiner, November 19, 2017).

    Am I the only who understands what’s going on here?

    AmeREEKa is where it’s at, and Trump knows it. And so he uses a bit of truth here and there as in these videos to keep AmeREEKa smells better? I don’t think so.

    Don’t be played, guys.

  • It absolutely matters that the president is putting out false propaganda. The videos are “real” in the sense that the events actually occurred. But they have nothing to do with Muslim migrants. The statue of Mary (evangelicals suddenly seem attached to such Graven images) was destroyed in the Middle East. This kind of iconoclasm by Sunni terrorists has been going on since pre-9/11. It’s not like he found a Catholic Church in Amsterdam and started smashing. The man thrown off the building may himself have been on the extremist side in Egypt and not the other way around. And the Dutch boy was attacked by a boy born in Holland and there’s no evidence he’s Muslim or that had anything to do with it.
    We have to fight Islamist militancy enough without making stuff up.

  • I’m not into Maryology, so that takes me out of that one.
    You have submitted a few, maybes and possiblies,….a good possibility is the man thrown off the building was a homosexual. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/06/13/here-are-the-10-countries-where-homosexuality-may-be-punished-by-death-2/?utm_term=.83c02489e9c9
    (edit)
    I cannot subscribe to the authenticity of this or not, but from what I have read, it seems pretty close
    .https://counterjihad.com/children-watch-isis-throws-gay-man-off-building

    Trump may be protecting a few homosexuals in your country.

  • “Trump may be protecting a few homosexuals in your country”

    Mike Pence as VP tells sane honest people the contrary.

  • being born and raised in the nether-land, fails to identify the religion of the perpetrator.

    is this article biased, trying to smooth over the fact muslims throughout the world are committing atrocities?

    is this whole non-islamic world, ignorant of islamic philosophy of world domination in the quran? a religion that is hostile, to all who are non-muslim.

    when various cults of islam, are also hostile to each other yet only claim to be the religion of peace. in the religious cults of islam, that says one thing while doing the opposite. while giving support, to the religion of hostile hypocrites.

    whether you are secular, christian, jew, other religion, of some socialist fascism, clerical fascism is destructively hostile to you. in this world, being shaped by the evil and wicked fanatics.

  • I wonder…………………will someday soon videos of planes flying into the world trade towers ALSO be anti-muslim rhetoric???

  • A bit off topic, but since that photograph of that grinning scheissgibbon graces the top of the page…

    Well, why not?!?!?!?!?

    HOLY CRAP!!!!

    ABC News reports that Michael Flynn promised “full cooperation to the Mueller team” and is prepared to testify that as a candidate, Donald Trump “directed him to make contact with the Russians.”

    Moore-or-less from ABC:

    The general told confidants about his decision to plead guilty in the last 24 hours, according to people close to Flynn, who say the former adviser feels Trump has abandoned him and has agreed to answer questions about the president or anyone else.

    Flynn was charged with lying to the FBI about the nature of his conversations with then-Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition. Those conversations led Russian officials to temper their response to increased U.S. sanctions, according to the charging documents. The charge means Flynn could face up to five years in prison.

  • According to all of the best conspiracy theorists on the far far far alt right, all of that was fake, and it was part of the deep state trying to do something or other to accomplish something else or other.

  • The difference is that as president, he should be held to a different standard when sharing information on a public platform. As Teresa May said, all of the British parliamentarians know enough to not retweet something from Britain First. Even my almost 89 year old mother who believes only Christians worship the true God, knew that that was inappropriate conduct.

  • I still think it’s going to happen sooner or later if it isn’t true. No one but Britain First knows if they are true.

  • Nope. The man is irredeemable scum. The best thing to do is work towards his exit. So far resignation in disgrace seems to be the likely method.

  • Beardbun, Jimmie Shortbeard. BEARDBUN!

    Stop your KOOKY commenting and get to work on growing and SMOOTHING that puny scruff of yours out so it can be properly knotted and congealed or that old lech Sandi will steal your beloved husband Edward BS away from you and ELOAHEMAHEMPOOTPOOT will not allow you into the Rapture Capsule.

  • “Subtlety” is not in my dictionary. But “kerfuffle” and “thingy” are.

    It’s an eccentric dictionary.

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