False: The video shows people demolishing a mosque in Pakistan to sell its iron and bricks for food.

By: Chandan Borgohain
February 15 2023

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False: The video shows people demolishing a mosque in Pakistan to sell its iron and bricks for food.


The Verdict False

The viral video shows people attacking an Ahmadi mosque in Pakistan's Karachi in an incident unrelated to the economic crisis in the country.

Claim ID d3bd0d7b


Pakistan has been reeling under a severe financial crisis, with its economy on the brink of collapse. According to a report by Mint, Pakistan's forex reserves have fallen to a nine-year low, and it is facing difficulties in getting a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Pakistani rupee has also been sliding continuously, and the nation is on the verge of defaulting on its debts. Further, inflation is at a 48-year-high, causing prices of essential commodities like wheat, rice, onions, and gas cylinders to shoot up, leaving the people of the country in difficulties.

Amid this, a video showing three men hammering on the domes and minarets of a mosque while a crowd of onlookers watches is doing the rounds on various social media platforms. Several social media users shared the video clip in the context of the crisis, claiming that it shows people demolishing a mosque to sell its iron and bricks for food and that "this is the 3rd masjid demolished in the recent past". "They say if Allah can't give us food what is the need of masjids????," the caption further claims.

In Fact

We did a reverse image search on the keyframes of the video and found that the video has no connection with the current economic crisis in Pakistan. 

According to a report by The Express Tribune, which carried a screengrab of the viral video, unidentified men vandalized the place of worship while chanting slogans against the Ahmadiyya community. The report noted that the targeted place of worship was Ahmadiyya Hall, built in the 1950s. The Express Tribune also quoted the community spokesperson Amir Mehmood saying that worship places of the Ahmadiyyas were being targeted in Pakistan.

This incident is one in a string of attacks on Ahmadi places of worship, a report by The Indian Express stated. Since 1974, Ahmadiyyas have been barred from going to mosques by law and are seen as non-Muslims. According to the report, which carried screengrabs of the viral video, the minority Ahmadiyya community has been facing regular attacks and persecution in Pakistan. The attacks often involve the removal of minarets from Ahmadi places of worship. The report states that in a previous case of desecration in the country's Punjab province, the Human Rights Commission (HRCP) "called for the protection of the religious minorities in the country."

We also came across the same video shared by Pakistani journalist Zia Ur Rehman. Sharing the video on February 2, Rehman stated that the video showed people in Karachi's Saddar desecrating an Ahmadi place of worship by destroying the minarets the same day. He also mentioned that a similar attack had occurred on another Ahmadi place of worship two weeks prior. The International Human Rights Committee, an NGO which works for the cause of persecuted Ahmadiyyas, retweeted Rehman's tweet. We found that they had also published a report on the incident, carrying screengrabs from the viral video and photos of the place of worship after it was vandalized. The report noted that this incident was one of targeting the community and damaging their property.

According to Dawn, the incident occurred in the Saddar area of Karachi on February 2. It also stated that the police registered an FIR and arrested five suspects in connection with the defiling of 78-year-old minarets. "The FIR was registered under Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 427 (mischief causing damage amounting to Rs50), 295 (harming or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult a religion), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC)," it reported. The report also quoted the police as saying, "The suspects instigated people present by shouting slogans about killing members of the Ahmadiyya community." 

Further, we found no news reports that linked the vandalizing of mosques with the current economic crisis in Pakistan.

The Verdict

The video shows people attacking an Ahmadi mosque in Karachi, Pakistan. Ahmadiyyas are a minority community in Pakistan who are reportedly being persecuted by the majority community in the nation. The desecration of the place of worship seen was an act against the community. The viral claim linking it to the economic crisis in the country is without any basis and, therefore, false.

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