Image of man suffering from bubonic plague shared as hands burnt for burning Quran

“خدا کا عذاب۔۔قرآن مجید جلانے والے خنزیر کے حادثے میں ہاتھ جل گئے شئیر کر کے ساری دنیا کو دکھا دیں کہ بے شک قرآن پاک کی حفاظت کا زمہ خود اللہ نے لیا ہے…. زیادہ سے زیادہ شیر کرے. (God’s punishment, the pig (Khinzeer), who burned the holy Quran, got his hands burnt in an incident. Share this and let everyone know that Allah is himself protecting the holy Quran -translated)”

Two images are being shared with the claim that a man who had burnt the Quran was punished by Allah. According to the claim, the man’s hand got burnt in a separate incident and this was Allah’s ‘retaliation’ to his impious act. Facebook user Hania Khan posted the message with the above claim.

Umpteen accounts on Facebook and Twitter shared the images with the same narrative.

Fact-check

Image 1

With the help of reverse image on Russian search engine Yandex, Alt News found that the two images are unrelated. The first image depicts Stop Islamization of Norway (SIAN) group leader Lars Thorsen who defied a police order against burning the holy Muslim book. “The rally had been approved by local authorities, but police had warned SIAN against desecrating the Koran, after the group said it planned to do so. Two copies of the religious text were thrown in a trash can during the rally, while Thorsen set fire to another one. The unsanctioned actions infuriated counter-protesters, who vaulted over a fence and attacked SIAN’s leader.”, reported Russian state-owned news outlet Russia Today on November 19, 2019.

Image 2

The man in the second image is Paul Gaylord, a resident of Oregon, USA, who suffered from bubonic plague. “Doctors amputated the blackened extremities of Paul ‘Steve’ Gaylord in an operation that lasted two-and-a-half hours on Monday at the St Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon. The 60-year-old Prineville man told The Oregonian the surgery was a success but painful.”, stated an article published by UK’s Daily Mail on September 19, 2012.

According to a report by Oregon Live, Gaylord was hospitalized in critical condition with plague in June 2012, after he was infected by a cat which was originally infected by a plague-carrying rodent. “Charlie(the cat) came home one day choking with a mouse stuck in the back of his mouth. Gaylord tried to pull the mouse out and in the process, Charlie bit him”, said the July 2012 report. It was later confirmed that the cat had the plague.

In January 2014, Gaylord recalled the time when doctors decided to amputate his limbs in a piece penned for UK-based news outlet The Guardian. He writes, “After a month in hospital, I went home. I had to live for six weeks with the dead fingers and toes, so doctors could work out which parts were going to heal before they performed the amputations. They wanted to take off my hands and feet at the wrists and ankles, but I didn’t want that. Instead, they removed my fingers; I still have my hands and part of my thumbs. They took off all the toes on my left foot, and about a third of my right foot is gone.”

American News outlet CNN’s Health unit quoted Gaylord in a September 2015 report saying that he has prosthetics but he doesn’t use them because they hurt to use.

In conclusion, an old and unrelated image of a patient who suffered from bubonic plague is being shared on social media to falsely claim that Lars Thorsen, the man who burnt a Quran in Norway, was punished by Allah and his hands were charred as a result.

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