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‘Husband and wife, Islam approved?’ No, photo shows preschool head with pupil

IN SHORT: In December 2023, a photo began circulating on social media, claiming to show a husband and his “young bride”. But the photos show little girls with their kindergarten headmaster, to celebrate starting reading the Qur'an holy book.

A photo of a grey-bearded man in Muslim dress with a little girl in a white gown has been doing the rounds on social media. Users claim it shows a “husband and wife, Islam approved”.

The claim has appeared online in Nigeria and elsewhere since late December 2023.

Another version of the photo’s caption reads: “A man and his wife in the religion of peace.”

But does the photo show a husband and wife? We took a closer look.


Controversial celebration at Turkish preschool

Africa Check ran the photo through Google Lens to find its origin. This led us to a Turkish-language X (formerly Twitter) post dated 29 August 2016.

A machine translation of the post reads: “A kindergarten in #Elazığ was celebrating girls’ transition to reading the Quran by dressing them in wedding dresses and headscarves.”



The Qur’an is the holy book of Islam.

Elazığ is a city in eastern Türkiye, formerly known as Turkey, a country that straddles the divide between Europe and Asia.

A search on X for posts with the words Elazığ and “anaokulu” (Turkish for kindergarten or preschool) in 2016 led us to other photos of the same event, posted in Türkiye. The earliest are dated 18 May 2016.

Several of the posts identify the school as Lalegül kindergarten in Elazığ. Many express outrage.

Girls being dressed in wedding dresses at the Kindergarten in Elazığ. Take your dirty hands off our children …” reads a translation of one.

Google Lens searches of the other photos led us to reports of the ceremony by the Turkish news outlets Milliyet and Sol in May 2016. Both identify the man in the viral photo as Lalegül preschool’s head teacher.

A translation of the Sol headline reads: “Scenes from the reactionaries’ kindergarten: The robed principal congratulates the girls by dressing them in wedding dresses and headscarves.”

According to the article, the photo was taken during a celebration of the pupils starting to read the Qur’an. The girls were indeed dressed in wedding gowns. 

But it doesn’t show a husband and wife.

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