Arabic text added to edited photo of street sign to suggest ‘Islamification’ of U.K.

By: Umme Kulsum
December 18 2023

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Arabic text added to edited photo of street sign to suggest ‘Islamification’ of U.K.

Screenshots of posts showing street signs in Arabic in the United Kingodm. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

The signboard does not actually display any text in Arabic. A photoshopped image of the signboard has been viral since 2016 with a communal narrative.

Claim ID 36eaffe9

What’s the claim

An image depicting a green street sign featuring names of places in English and Arabic, guiding vehicles to Harrogate, Leeds, Shipley, and Keighley, along with a separate sign giving directions for the airport, is being widely shared on social media. The supposed Arabic names of the destinations have been used by several social media accounts to claim that the United Kingdom has been “Islamified.” One Facebook user shared the image (archive here)  with a superimposed text that read, “Islamification of U.K..” The accompanying caption also read, “Yorkshire, England.” 

The same image has also gained traction on X (formerly Twitter), with one post having more than 7,97,000 views and over 1,500 reshares. An archived version of the post can be found here.

Screenshot of claims made online. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

What we found

Logically Facts found the image in question has been manipulated. 

After running a reverse image search on the viral photo, we found out that the signboard’s photos with names of places in Arabic and English have been viral since 2016. We found a post on X, shared on May 31, 2016, with the image of the same signboard, though in better quality. The photo was a zoomed-out version of the viral photo and was shared with a caption, “Now it really is Bradistan!! I can't believe this has been allowed to happen in the county I love, West Yorkshire!!!” This indicates that the viral image that has been circulating since 2016. The inclusion of the term "Bradistan" in the caption suggests that the signboard originates from Bradford.

Using this clue, Logically Facts used Google Street View to track down the exact location of the signboard in question. This search led us to a roundabout connecting Victoria and Harrogate Road in Bradford, U.K. The Google Maps version from 2015 featured the same white van behind the signboard as seen in the viral photo. It appears that the image gaining attention online was taken from a 2015 Google Street View photo; however, the original picture only had English names of places on the signboard.

Comparison of visuals from Google Street View from 2015 and the viral image. (Source: X/Google Maps)

We also checked Google Maps Street View records for various years to find out if Arabic names were added to the signboard at any point. The signboard only displayed the English names of the places over the years, at least from 2012 to 2022.  Google Maps Street View records were not available for 2013, 2014, 2021 and 2023.

Google Street View images of the signboard from different years. (Source: Google Maps)

Additionally, the text in Arabic on the signboard does not translate to names of places mentioned in English. When translated to English, the Arabic text below Harrogate reads, ‘Assalaamu-Alaikum’ which means ‘Peace be upon you,’ and the Arabic text below Leeds Shipley reads, ‘Refugees are welcomed, ’ Also, the Arabic text below ‘Airport’ reads, “May Allah protect you.”

The verdict

The above evidence established that the viral image has been digitally altered to incorporate Arabic text. Also, the Arabic text doesn't translate to the place name mentioned above it. Therefore, we mark this claim as false and the viral image, which has been circulating since 2016, as fake.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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