By: Annet Preethi Furtado
February 9 2024
Screenshots of the claim that a video shows the Chinese government demolishing a mosque. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
This video doesn't depict the Chinese government demolishing a mosque. It shows the demolition of a damaged minaret in Adana, Turkey.
What's the claim?
A three-second clip has been widely circulated on X (formerly Twitter) with the claim that the Chinese government is demolishing a mosque in the video. The short clip shows a minaret collapsing while a yellow excavator moves backward. In the video, two individuals are visible: one is wearing what resembles an officer's jacket, while the other is recording the collapse scene with their cell phone.
A now-deleted post on X by Visegrád 24, a European news aggregator, included a caption for the video: "The Chinese government destroying another mosque. The Chinese Communist Party has been focusing on mosques as part of its crackdown against the Muslim Uyghurs. And yet, not a word of criticism from Arab leaders. No Jews, no news?''
Screenshot of viral posts. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
Another X user captioned the video, "Another Mosque has been bulldozed, in the daylight, by the Chinese government… जिहादियों में सन्नाटा क्यों।'' The archive can be found here.
Since 2016, under the directive of Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has intensified its control over religious and ethnic minorities, particularly focusing on the "sinicization of religion" in China. Recently, in November 2023, authorities in China closed or altered numerous mosques in Ningxia and Gansu, regions with significant Muslim populations, following similar actions in Xinjiang. This move is part of a larger campaign to assimilate China's religious minorities, according to researchers from Human Rights Watch (HRW), who highlighted a substantial decrease in the number of mosques in Ningxia and Gansu.
The footage in question dates back to February 2023 and originates from Adana, Turkey.
What we found
A reverse image search on a keyframe of the viral video led to an article by Gazette Duvar, an online newspaper based in Istanbul, Turkey. This report was published on February 23, 2023, and included a similar 19-second video uploaded to the outlet's YouTube channel, captured from a different angle. The YouTube video’s Turkish title translates to: "'Controlled' minaret demolition in Adana got out of control."
Comparison between a screenshot of the YouTube video posted by Gazete Duvar and the viral video. (Source: X/YouTube/Screenshot)
In the video, a man can be heard reciting an Islamic prayer as the excavator proceeds to bring down the minaret. The structure is then seen falling. In the video's description box, the translation states: "The 'controlled' demolition of the minaret of Gökoğlu Mosque, which was damaged in the earthquakes in Adana Seyhan, got out of control. There were people injured due to the pieces of the collapsed minaret."
The Gökoğlu Mosque is situated in Adana, Turkey
In February 2023, Aykiricomtr, a Turkish media outlet, also reported the accident during the "controlled" demolition of a mosque's minaret in Adana. Some officials and onlookers were injured by scattered debris, the report added. The outlet posted a 56-second clip of the demolitions on the X platform. The first 17 seconds of the posted video displayed the same segments as those seen in the viral video.
However, this extended version provided further context, capturing the moments following the structure's collapse. It showed four individuals helping a uniformed man who was seen in the viral video while dust covered the surroundings.
The YouTube video posted by Gazete Duvar shows the excavator featuring the inscription "Kumcu Ali Insaat & Hafriyat 0552 801 76 46."
Screenshots showing Kumchu Ali Insaat & Hafriyat 0552 801 76 46 displayed prominently on the back of an escalator, taken from a video posted by Gazete Duvar. (Source: YouTube/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
Searching the phone number on Google led us to social media accounts connected with the construction company. We found multiple posts by these accounts with "#adana" confirming that the company operated in the Adana region in Turkey. Logically Facts has also contacted the particular company, and this fact check will be updated if and when we receive a response.
On Google Maps, we were able to pinpoint the nearest available street view location of the Gökoğlu Mosque in Adana, Turkey, whereupon we spotted the structure's minaret. We could discern the distinct white top, similar to the one captured in the viral video.
Comparison of the structure depicted in the viral video to the street view of Turkey on Google Maps. (Source: X/Google Maps/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
Demolition after earthquakes
The Turkish reports state that many mosque minarets and numerous buildings collapsed in Adana city center during the 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes centered in Pazarcık and Elbistan districts of Maraş in February 2023.
Subsequent inspections revealed that 146 minarets, excluding those that had already collapsed, sustained damage. Following this, district municipalities initiated efforts to address the damaged minarets posing risks to nearby structures in the event of aftershocks or future earthquakes. It reported that teams took necessary precautions and demolished 78 of the damaged minarets.
The widely circulated video, purportedly showing the Chinese government demolishing a mosque, is false. It was actually taken in Adana, Turkey, and depicts the demolition of a damaged minaret following the earthquakes.