Video of cleric reciting Islamic prayer atop damaged mosque in Syria falsely shared as Morocco

By: Rajini KG
September 14 2023

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Video of cleric reciting Islamic prayer atop damaged mosque in Syria falsely shared as Morocco

(Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The viral video of the cleric standing on top of a destroyed mosque is from Syria after a reported attack by Russia, and is not recent.

Claim ID 1b6e7697

What is the claim?

After a earthquake with a magntiude of 6.8 hit Morocco on September 8, dated and fake videos began circulating on social media. An X user shared a video on September 10 with the caption, "In Morocco despite the destruction of the mosque by earthquake but still the Adhan continues. This is beautiful. Allahu Akbar." The video shows a cleric standing on top of a destroyed mosque and reciting the adhan, also called azan, which refers to the Islamic call to prayer. The video has more than 219,400 views. It was shared across other platforms as well. Archived version of the posts can be found here and here.

Screenshots of viral claims. (Source:X/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video is old and unrelated to the Morocco earthquake.

What are the facts?

Through a reverse image search, we found a similar video posted on a YouTube channel called "Hayan Media Office" in June 2017. It was titled: "Hayyan/Raising the Maghrib call to prayer in a mosque 10/6/2017 (Translated from Arabic)." The same video was uploaded on its Facebook page on June 11 that year. Hayan Media office identifies itself as a media/news company that reports on “civil and military affairs of the town of Hayan, located in the countryside of Aleppo, Syria,” according to it's Facebook bio. This indicates that the video has been online for the past six years. 

User Shaykh Mohammed Aslam also shared the same video on June 27, 2017, on his Facebook page. He wrote that the video is from Syria, where a cleric recited the adhan from a destroyed mosque.

Logically Facts found that Khalid Lyoosh, a social media specialist from Syria who works with ‎Al Jazeera, had also posted a video from the same location in February 2016 where a different man was seen standing on a damaged mosque and reciting the adhaan. It was titled: "A moezzin raises the call to prayer over the ruins of a mosque targeted by a Russian raid in the town of Hayan in northern Aleppo countryside."

We found that the mosque's structure in this video is similar to the one seen in the viral video. We can see the same damaged roof and the ladder next to the mosque, as seen in the viral video. According to a France24 report from February 2016, Syrian and Russian warplanes conducted airstrikes in towns of Hayan and Hreitan in northern Aleppo as a civil war raged in February 2016.

Comparison of the video shared by a Syrian journalist in 2016 and viral video. (Source: X/Facebook)

This indicates that the video shows a damaged mosque in Syria and is not a recent video following the earthquake in Morocco. 

Last week, the earthquake that struck Morocco led to the deaths of more than 2,800 people, and injured 2,500. NBC reported that Spain, Qatar, and other nations have joined the Moroccan military in the search for lives buried beneath the rubble. On September 13, aftershocks were felt in the Moroccan village of Imi N’Tala, close to Amizmiz, BBC reported.

The verdict

An old video from Syria has been falsely shared as a cleric reciting the Islamic call to prayer standing on a mosque destroyed by an earthquake in Morocco.

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