A two-minute video which shows a group of people offering namaz (Islamic prayers) is viral on social media. In the video, while one group can be seen offering prayers facing a mosque, another group is facing a different direction. Several social media users have posted this video claiming that it is from China. According to the claim, “By the grace of God, no Muslim has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak in China, the reason being five times a day namaz offered by them. As a result, non-Muslims are also offering namaz but they don’t know which direction they are supposed to face. They are offering namaz wherever they find a place (translated).”

A Twitter user posted (archive link) the viral video with the above-mentioned claim in Hindi, “चाइना में अल्लाह के फजलों करम से एक भी मुस्लिम कोरोना वाइरस की चपेट में नहीं आया है इसका राज पांच वक्त की नमाज़ हैं अब नॉन मुस्लिम भी नमाज़ पढ़ने पहुंचे जबकि उनको ये भी मालूम नहीं है कि नमाज़ किस दिशा में चेहरा करके पढ़ी जाती है जिसको जहां जगह मिली वहां नमाज़ पढ़ने खड़ा हो गया।”

Another Twitter user posted (archive link) the viral video and wrote, “Non Muslims Chinese attend Jumma Namaz ,,they don’t know which side Stand for Namaz Religion does not say to hate?”

Alt News has received several requests to fact-check the images on WhatsApp (+91 76000 11160), and on our official mobile application where we have also received the viral video along with a message in Gujarati. “ચીન મે અલ્લાહકા કરીશમા મુસલીમ બહુમત ઈલાકોમે કોરોના વાઈરસ કા કોઈઅશરનહીદીખતા ઈસા પ્રભાવીતહોકે ચીન કે નોન મુસલીમ આજ જુમ્મા કી નમાજ પઠને કે લીયે હજારો કી તાદાતમે જમાહોકર જુમ્માકી નમાજ આદાકરતેહુવે ચીની અવામ યે હે હમારે ઈસ્લામ કી તાકાત ચીન મે એક દૌર થા જો મુસલીમો કો મસ્જીદોમે નમાઝ નહી પઠનેદીયા જાતાથા આજ ચીન કા પ્રેસીડન્ટ જીંમ્પીગ ખુદ નમાઝ અદાકરહા હૈ ”

Old video, new misinformation

Factcrescendo had published a report on February 11 verifying the viral video. The fact-checking outlet had found a live video which was uploaded by Mak Mohamed on June 5, 2019. The caption of the live-video read, “Eid prayer in China, Yiwu, Zhejing province.” It is important to note that last year Eid-ul-Fitr was observed on June 5.

Eid prayer in China, Yiwu, Zhejing province

Posted by Mak Mohamed on Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Alt News analysed both the videos and observed that the viral video is a clipped version of the Facebook live uploaded by Mohamed. The viral video starts from 4:49 to 7:06 in Mohamed’s video.

Alt News found another video from 2016 on Mohamed’s profile which shows a close-up shot of a mosque which looks similar to the one in the Facebook-live. In order to authenticate that the video is from Yiwu, Alt News performed a keyword search [“Yiwu + mosque”] on Google. The result showed a mosque on Jiangbin W Road in Yiwu. This mosque looks identical to one in the videos uploaded by Mohamed.

In the screenshot below you can compare between the still from Mohamed’s video (left) from 2016, Facebook-live video from 2019 (centre) and the image on Google maps (right). Therefore the mosque in the viral video is from Jiangbin W Road in Yiwu.

Thus, the claim that the video shows people praying after the coronavirus outbreak is false. It is from last year’s Eid celebrations in Yiwu, a city in China’s Zhejiang province.

About the Author

Kinjal Parmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. However, her keen interest in journalism, drove her to pursue journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. At Alt News since 2019, she focuses on authentication of information which includes visual verification, media misreports, examining mis/disinformation across social media. She is the lead video producer at Alt News and manages social media accounts for the organization.