An explicit video that shows a fitness instructor touching a woman inappropriately in a public gym is being shared with a ‘love Jihad’ spin.

“This gym is owned by ‘jihadi’ Bilal Ahmed Khan. He is running a full-fledged agenda in the name of a gym to trap young women from Hindu families. There is no Hindu who shouldn’t know what this ‘jihadi’ is up to,” reads the claim shared by Twitter user ‘ब्रांड रुद्रा @brand_rudra’. It was shared with a similar message by @UttamIND_.

[Translated from: ये है जिहादी बिलाल अहमद खान का जिम है. ये असल मे यहां हिन्दुओ की जवान लड़कियों को फसाने के लिए बहुत बड़ा एजेंडा चलाया जा रहा है जिम के नाम पर. अब ऐसा कोई हिन्दू नही होगा जो इन जिहादियों के द्वारा की जा रही हरकतों को जानता नही होगा]

Right-wing propaganda website Kreately wrote an elaborate story on the video – how Muslim men take classes on fitness training and become instructors at cheap prices to lure Hindu women. The article’s author Sampat Saraswat also claimed that he spoke to the man who runs the gym and was told that Muslim men learn from him then get part-time employment as fitness instructers to get close to Hindu women and girls. ‘Gym jihad’ is written in bold at the end of the article.

Video shows Trinidad and Tobago-based gym trainer with his wife

Alt News performed a reverse image search using video verification browser plugin InVID and found that the viral video was posted by several websites in 2017. One of them was a Ukrainian-website that embedded the same video from the Russian social networking website VK.

It was also uploaded on YouTube on March 22, 2017 with Arabic text.

The video is available on pornographic websites as well.

A Twitter user had commented last year that the video was shot in Trinidad and Tobago. “Two professional trainers Imran and Reshma” made the clip, he wrote.

Imran has a Facebook page where they keep uploading workout videos. The viral video was uploaded on June 22, 2017. Speaking with Alt News Imran confirmed, “The woman in the video is my wife and we are from the same faith.”

At least a three-year-old explicit video was shared with a ‘love jihad’ spin by several supporters of the BJP. Alt News has debunked many instances of such videos made viral with ‘love jihad’.

Video widespread with false anti-Muslim spin

Twitter user @VishwajiS had quote-tweeted the same video posted by Akash RSS (archived link) in November 2020. Alt News has documented multiples instances of misinformation promoted by Akash RSS in the past. “Hindus are happy that his wife, daughter and daughter-in-law visit the gym. But peacefuls (a derogatory term used for Muslims) gradually trap them in love jihad by behaving inappropriately and touching their bodies. They cause a rift in married lives and destroy Hindu families. Beware, wake up Hindus!” read the tweet by @VishwajiS.

(Translated from: हिन्दू खुश है कि उसकी पत्नी, बेटी, बहू जिम जाती है । वहां पर शांति दूत कितनी बेहूदा हरकतें करके और उनके शरीर को स्पर्श करके उनको धीरे-धीरे #लव_जिहाद में डालते हैं l वैवाहिक जीवन में आग लगाकर के हिंदू परिवारों का सर्वनाश कर रहे हैं l सावधान हिंदू जागो.)

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‘Love Jihad’ is a far-right conspiracy theory claiming Muslim men entice Hindu women in marriage to convert them to Islam. The video was shared last year against the backdrop of the Madhya Pradesh government announcing that a ‘love jihad’ bill will soon be introduced in the state assembly to award five years of rigorous imprisonment to ‘perpetrators’. The state home minister added that the charge will be cognizable and non-bailable. As per reports, BJP governments in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are also contemplating legal provisions against ‘love jihad’.

Twitter user @Real_Kanak_ shared the viral video with a similar claim. It gained over 1,000 views. (archived link)

Another Twitter user @vickywadhwani posted this video and suggested that legislation against ‘love jihad’ should be implemented by the central government. “This is how gyms and unisex salons have become the centre for ‘love jihad’. Like Uttar Pradesh, the central government should also implement some law regarding this.”

(Hindi message: जिम और यूनसेक्स सलून किस तरह लव जिहाद का केंद्र बन चुके है उत्तर प्रदेश की तरह केंद्र सरकार को कुछ ना कुछ क़ानून लाना चाइए इस बारे मैं)

The video was also uploaded on Daily Motion in March 2020 with the false claim that the woman is Bollywood actor Disha Patani.

In August, the same clip was shared by ‘Sanjay Dwivedy Hindu Mahavir‘ drawing over 12 lakh views.

 

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel at WION as a trainee journalist, at S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer and at The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.