French teacher Samuel Paty was recently beheaded in Paris by 18-year-old teenager Abdoulakh Anzorov. Paty had shown caricatures of Prophet Mohammed during a class on freedom of expression, in relation to the Charlie Hebdo case which outraged the youth and led him to brutally murder the teacher.

The incident has sparked misinformation targeting the Muslim community. A few days ago, Surendra Poonia falsely claimed that the teacher was welcoming refugees into France and paid the price with his life.

Madhu Kishwar, who’s been found frequently disseminating misinformation on Twitter, has now posted a video writing, “French citizens protesting against Muslims taking over sidewalks & road space for Namaz…Frenchies responded by singing the French national anthem loudly. No surprise, if these “endangered” Islamists seek asylum in India & “Sabaka-Saath-Sant”, enacts special law to welcome them!”

The video has been shared recently, giving the impression that the incident is related to the French teacher’s killing.

The clip has also been picked up on Facebook.

Old video

A reverse-image search of the video’s keyframes on Yandex took us to news reports from 2017 which say that about 2,000 worshippers gathered in Clichy, suburbs in the northwest Paris, to pray on the streets after the closure of a local mosque.

Several news reports carry visuals similar to scenes in the video recently shared.

“Muslim worshippers had been using the square to pray in a protest against a recent decision by the mayor to close their usual prayer hall nearby, which had welcomed up to 5,000 Muslim worshippers each day. Authorities opened a new mosque for the community, but it was 1.5km away and worshippers said it was hard to reach. Their Friday protests have been aimed at pressuring the local council to agree to open a prayer hall in the centre of Clichy,” reported The Local France. It’s noteworthy that the country has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.

A banner in the background which reads ‘STOP AUX PRIÈRES DE RUE ILLÉGALES!’ (Stop illegal street prayers) can be seen in the video, as well as news reports from 2017.

The prayers were met with protests by French politicians who said that it was a “misuse of public space”, reported BBC. The politicians started to sing the French national anthem when the worshippers were offering namaz.

“They were singing the Marseillaise, throwing it in our faces, even though we’re French people here. We’re French. Long live France!” one of the worshippers told AFP news agency.

A video of an old protest by the Muslim community in Clichy was revived by Madhu Kishwar after the Paris beheading. Muslims took to the street to offer prayers after a local mosque was shut down. The public offering of prayers was not taken well by politicians in France, a country where the separation of church and state is fiercely implemented by many.

About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.