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Video shows political party leader during rally in Pakistan in 2018, not Islamic preacher making antisemitic comments

IN SHORT: A video has been doing the rounds on social media with the claim it shows a stage collapsing and a group of people falling after an imam preached that he had had a dream in which he was told that all “Jews must be exterminated”. But the video first appeared online in 2018 and the man in it is not saying anything about Jewish people.

A video posted on Facebook shows a man speaking on stage in front of a crowd. Other people can be seen sitting behind him. Towards the end of the video, they all fall when the stage collapses.

Posts circulating the video claim that the man in the video is an imam and that the stage collapsed because he preached that he had a dream in which he was told that all “Jews must be exterminated”.

An imam is a person who leads a Muslim community in prayer, usually in a mosque, or place of worship. 

In a 21 December 2023 post the video is captioned: “The timing is Divine! An imam in Pakistan preaches that he had a dream in which it said that all Jews must be exterminated. He goes on to say, ‘If this is not true, may the ground sink beneath me.’ Look what happens…”

The video has been viewed by over 1,000 users and has received over 100 reactions.

Antisemitism means hostility towards the Jewish people. Antisemitism across the world is reported to have increased following the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel and the subsequent Israel-Gaza war

Israel is a small country in the Middle East and the world’s only Jewish state. Israel and the Palestinian people have been in conflict for decades.

The Gaza Strip is a narrow territory in the Middle East bordered to its west and north by Israel. The strip is densely populated and poor. The people who live there are mainly Palestinian. Gaza has been ruled by Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, since 2007.

By 15 January 2024, the death toll in Gaza was more than 24,000. Some of the Israelis taken hostage by Hamas on 7 October 2023 had not been released.

The video of the collapsing stage, supposedly as a result of an imam’s antisemitic statement, can be found here, here, here, here, here, here and here, with one posted to a public Facebook group with over 105,000 members.

But did the man make such a comment and did the stage collapse as a result? We checked.


Video is old, not related to Israel-Hamas conflict

Using the video analysis tool Invid, Africa Check found that the video has been online since at least 2018.

Voice of America shared the video on Facebook on 18 July of that year, with a caption that a stage had collapsed during an election rally held in Pakistan. 

Africa Check then searched for news reports of the event and found the same video posted on X (formerly Twitter) on the same day by Aditya Raj Kaul, a journalist

Emir Sirajul Haq and other leaders of the religious political party Jamaat-e-Islami fell when the stage collapsed due to overcrowding. The incident took place in Pakistan's Mohmand tribal district.

India Today, an India-based online magazine, reported that the imam was speaking Urdu, a language spoken in Pakistan and India. The imam was reportedly welcoming the leaders to the rally before the stage collapsed.

This is not the first time the video has been posted with the same false claim. In September 2018, a Facebook user also claimed that an Islamic preacher had made an antisemitic comment, causing the stage to collapse.

Antisemitic or other incendiary incidents should be taken seriously, especially during a time of war. By separating true statements from false ones, the fact-checking process can help ensure that appropriate action, such as condemning antisemitic comments, is taken.

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