A video clip of a group of individuals vandalizing a religious structure is viral on social media as a video from Pakistan. Several social media users have linked it to the country’s economic crisis, claiming that the structure that was vandalized was a mosque and the people did this to sell its parts for food.

Former governor of Tripura Tathagata Roy shared the clip on Twitter mentioning that it was received via WhatsApp and its authenticity had not been verified. He wrote, “In Pakistan they are demolishing masjids and selling it’s iron and bricks for their food. This is the 3rd masjid demolished in recent past. They say if Allah can’t give us food what is the need of masjids?”

Twitter user Sheshdhar Tiwari also shared the clip with the same claim.

The claim has been circulating on both Twitter and Facebook for some time now.

Fact Check

We performed a keyword search and came across a tweet that suggested that the structure vandalised was an Ahmadi mosque. Ahmadiyya Muslims are a community that frequently faces religious persecution and discrimination in Pakistan. The user claims that the act was allegedly done by workers of an organisation called TLP (Tehrik-e-Labaik).

Taking note of this clue, we performed an additional keyword search and came across a detailed report by The Express Tribune. As per the report, the incident took place on February 2, in the jurisdiction of Preedy police station around 3:30 pm.

The report says that unidentified men, chanting slogans against the Ahmadi community vandalized the minarets of the place of worship. It also mentions that the place of worship was built in the 1950s as per the community leader and that such attacks against the community across Pakistan had become frequent in the last few weeks.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, a senior police official said that police had tried to control the situation but they were attacked as well. He also said police would take suo motu cognizance of the matter if the Ahmadiyya community felt uncomfortable coming forward to register a case against the perpetrators.

Alt News accessed a statement from the Ahmadiyya community that was released to the press.

It reads, “The minarets of two places of worship of Ahmadiyya Jamaat in Karachi were broken by evil elements in last two weeks. Today, February 2, around 3:30 pm, the Ahmadiyya Hall of Karachi was demolished by miscreants. According to the details, five to ten miscreants came to the location and used the stall of a vendor as a platform to climb the walls of the place of worship and broke the minarets with hammers while raising slogans against the community. After that, those people got down and escaped into the crowd. Two policemen were present there. Due to a large number of miscreants, the police retreated. Ahmadiyya Jamaat has appealed to the police to file an FIR.

Previously, an individual named Abdul Qadir Patel registered a case on September 29, 2020, that the Ahmadiyya Hall had built minarets similar to that of a mosque. This is the second incident of breaking of minarets of Ahmadiyya Jamaat in the last two weeks in Karachi. Earlier on January 18, in the afternoon, three to four miscreants entered the Ahmadiyya Jamaat’s place of worship at Martin Road Karachi by placing a ladder and damaging the 2 minarets in front.”

The translated version of the statement can be read using Google translate.

Alt News spoke with a member of the Ahmadiyya community who told us that attacks such as this one against the Ahmadiyya community had been happening for years. The claims that the structure was vandalised due to the economic crisis in the country are baseless.

A police complaint filed in this case is available in the public domain as it was shared on Twitter by Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui, a Sindh government spokesperson. As per Dawn, so far five suspects have been arrested.

To sum it up, a video of an Ahmadiyya place of worship vandalized by unidentified individuals in Pakistan was falsely shared by Indian social media users as people in Pakistan demolished a mosque to sell its parts for food due to the economic crisis in the country.

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About the Author

Kalim is a journalist with a keen interest in tech, misinformation, culture, etc