On March 22, India observed a voluntary curfew at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s request in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. As the centre steps up the process of nationwide lock down in order to tackle coronavirus, the wave of misinformation surrounding it continues.
A 3:30-minute video uploaded by YouTube channel Minorities News has gone viral on social media. The video shows a crowd offering Islamic prayers in public. It is being claimed that people are embracing Islam and willing offering namaz in China. The number of coronavirus cases has massively decreased in China after nearly three months of restrictions.
The video has been viewed over 6.5 lakh times. Its title, “People are coming in buses to read namaz and willingly embracing Islam. [Translated from बसें भर भर कर नमाज़ पढ़ने आ रहे हैं और झुंड के झुंड अपनी मर्ज़ी से इस्लाम अपना रहे हैं]”
The video description reads, “to read namaz and willingly embracing Islam. If anyone knows what is written on the buses comment in Hindi and try to tell where the video is from. [Translated from लोगों का कहना है कि चायना में बसें भर भर कर नमाज़ पढ़ने आ रहे हैं और झुंड के झुंड अपनी मर्ज़ी से इस्लाम अपना रहे हैं, वीडियो में दिख रही बसों पर क्या लिखा है कोई जानता हो तो हिंदी में ट्रांसलेशन करके कमेंट में लिखें,साथ ही वीडियो कहाँ का है बताने की कोशिश करें].”
On March 10, Facebook page Asif Khan Live 24 posted the video with the same claim. It was shared over 17,000 times and gained close to 4 lakh views.
Alt News analysed the video using InVid, a video verification tool. After performing a reverse image search on Yandex, we found the viral video was uploaded by Pavel Rytíř on YouTube on August 12, 2011. The video title claims that it shows prayers during Ramadan at Xining, capital of Qinghai province in China.
Huffington Post reported that in 2011 Ramadan was observed from August 1 to August 30.
The social media claim associated with the viral video is false. It attempts to portray that people are embracing Islam in large numbers in China after coronavirus cases have fallen in the country.
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people start contributing towards the same. Please consider donating towards this endeavour to fight fake news and misinformation.