Baloney

Once more, Muslims share via WhatsApp apparently profound insights, oblivious to their origin on nationalist forums filled with threads decrying Islam and brown people. It turns out that were it not for mutual hatred, most of these folk would get on like a house on fire. Apart from the superficial contempt for each other’s way of life, it turns out the two parties agree on most things and have more than a little in common. If only the nationalist forum would tone down the threads on the Islamification of Europe, Trump’s progress, the death of London and the martyrdom of Tommy Robinson, the chattering classes that teem Muslim social media would signup en masse and embrace them. Never mind that those apparently profound insights are in fact trite reductionist baloney, lacking any real substance at all.

No account

The number of influential Muslims promoting conspiracy theories to their vast followings online seems to be growing. Proponents of coronavirus conspiracies have now incorporated a second strand: the murder of George Floyd, which sparked protests across the US this week.

Continue reading “No account”

Gory videos

Seen a gory video on social media and feeling enraged?

Stop. Pause. Breathe. Ask yourself some questions:

  1. Is it real? Are you sure it’s not street theatre, a clip from a film, an old TV advert, a video-game capture or manufactured propaganda?
  2. Is it new? Wasn’t the same clip making the rounds two years ago too, framed in the context of a previous conflict or crisis?
  3. Is it related? See #2 above. Are you sure it shows what people are claiming it shows?

If in doubt, screen capture the offending video and then run it through a reverse image search, such as those provided by Tineye, Bing and Yandex. More often than not, you will discover that all is not as it first seemed. Which brings us to point number 4:

  • What is the benefit of forwarding this on? Or conversely, what harm will it cause?

Forwarded as received

They rail against the fabled mainstream media. But then forward me articles from the Daily Mail. They say social media has freed the masses from submitting to the MSM propaganda machine and believing its lies. But then they forward me YouTube videos that are pure make-believe. They chorus to the refrain, “It’s Islamphobia, it’s Islamophobia”. Then rejoice in an article published by supporters of the hard right. Continue reading “Forwarded as received”

The folly of alt-reality

Ho hum, yet another video claiming to reveal The Truth™ is doing the rounds. This one an interview by London Real — a cultish conspirituality self-help movement, formerly purveyor of pyramid schemes — with Dr Andrew Kaufman, “unmasking the lies around Covid-19”.

It turns out this Dr Andrew Kaufman is a big hitter in the alternative media alternative reality, giving interviews with Truthers all over the place. His present claim to fame is that as a medical doctor, he rejects the germ theory of disease, postulating that contagious diseases are not contagious. This claim alone makes him a celebrity in the alt-reality realm, where his bravery and honesty is lauded by men, women and bots seeking evidence to confirm their conclusions. Continue reading “The folly of alt-reality”

Scaremongering

This afternoon, my companion received a video via WhatsApp, forwarded onto her by a friend. This is worrying, she said, passing it onto me to investigate.

The video featured a professional-looking man speaking to camera, a computer workstation by his side. He could have been a doctor, union rep or legal advisor. He starts with a smile and friendly greeting, but then immediately begins: “Today we’re going to talk about our rights when it comes to having a mandatory vaccine.” Continue reading “Scaremongering”

Hoax

Friends are forwarding to me — over and over — articles which claim to prove that the coronavirus crisis is a hoax. Once more, Global Research, Prison Planet and Peter Hitchens are taken as voices of authority. Once more, the approach of the fabled Anti-Christ is cited, bringing with him a dystopian dajjalic system imposed worldwide. Mistranslated scientists, wielding spurious and patently out-of-date statistics, completely overtaken by events, are held up as proof that it is all a storm in a tea cup, designed to deprive us of our liberty and herald a new world order. Continue reading “Hoax”

Before sleep took me

What responsibility does the sheikh have to those that listen to him? All across the web — on YouTube, Facebook and numerous blogs — ordinary folk celebrate the impressive insight of the learned one. Beneath repackaged lectures on YouTube, hundreds of people respond in awe, amazed by a hadith narrated by the sage, so detailed and accurate in its depiction of future events. It is the truth, the people declare, revelling in the apparent wealth of their tradition. Continue reading “Before sleep took me”

Added gunfire

This morning, a friend sent me an extremely harrowing video via WhatsApp, which appeared to show Chinese police systematically shooting dead victims of Coronavirus COVID19. A copy of this very upsetting video can also be found on YouTube here and here (discretion advised).

Of course, me being me — having spent my early years as a Muslim absorbed in the so-called science of hadith — I had to investigate. Not least because China built a brand-new hospital to treat patients in just two weeks. And so that is how I spent my lunch break.

It turns out that the video forwarded onto me via WhatsApp is at least three separate incidents spliced together. It took quite a while to track down the source videos, but eventually I found them after a lot of searching, including using reverse image search on screenshots I’d captured from the viral video.

I found the clip in the first half — where three policemen in protective clothing are seen walking from their car — on Twitter. The original caption for the video said an unknown person entered the community with a pistol and a semi-automatic weapon, and this was the police response. Further comments claim that the video was filmed in Sichuan on 27th January, when police in protective suits captured a killer who had been on the run for 19 years.

There is a version of the third clip — with the lady in the pink jacket and medics attending to patients — on Twitter. This is captioned in Chinese; from dismissive comments underneath, it seems to promote the shooting claims. The original video is wide angle, not filmed portrait as shown in the viral video, so is definitely not part of the same sequence. The bangs in the background are real, but I can’t tell whether they’re fire crackers or gunfire.

I found the video clip with the woman in the yellow jacket lying dead on the ground on Turkish news website, Yeni Akit. The website says Chinese police killed one person who tried to break through quarantine. Note that in the original (still distressing) video, there is no sporadic gunfire in the background. Somebody has added this afterwards.

What is really happening in China, God knows. Allahu’Alam. One thing I am certain of is that splicing unrelated videos together and then adding gunfire to the soundtrack amounts to bearing false witness, at best. “O you who have believed, if there comes to you information, investigate…”

“pls make this video viral”

Just received via WhatsApp, a video clip and this text:

An Israeli police man strangles a palestinian Child to death on saturday during the protest of US embassy move to the Jerusalem. The innocent boy even read Kalima e shahadat before dying. Despite many attempts by groups to upload this video to the Youtube, its been consistently removed and deleted from google, Facebook and youtube. pls make this video viral so that it reaches all the media.

Naturally, I won’t participate in making the video viral, despite the seemingly urgent request. Why? Because it’s simply not what it says it is. Continue reading ““pls make this video viral””