By: Praveen Kumar
December 6 2023
A 2021 video of the commemorative march of Muslims on the occasion of Ashura day is being shared in the context of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. (Source: X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
A 2021 video of Muslims marching on London’s Oxford Street on Ashura day is being shared as a protest against Israel.
On November 25, 2023, Sky News reported that tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protestors took to the streets of London, calling for a ceasefire amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The Guardian reported on December 2 that the protests intensified, with hundreds of thousands of people protesting in central London alone.
What's the claim?
Amid these protests, social media users have been sharing a video showing a crowd of people dressed in black marching on a street. One social media post sharing this video (archived here) said it showed a protest against Israel in London. Another, archived here, claimed the video showed a recent march in London.
This video and claim have been shared on X, which has raked up thousands of views. (Source: X/Screenshots)
However, this is an old video and does not show a pro-Palestine protest amid the ongoing war.
What we found
Taking a cue from an X post that shared the video, we searched for footage of a procession held on Oxford Street, London, in the last few years. We found that some accounts on X posted the same video in September 2021 with the caption "Ashura Procession 2021 London." We were unable to establish the source of the video.
The viral video can be traced back to posts from as early as September 2021 on X. (Source: X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
We noted the traffic lights and banners hanging above the crowd. Five banners can be seen beside one another, containing the text "Greener," "Smarter," "Oxford Street District," "Future," and "Together," in this order. We geolocated the exact place shown in the video by comparing the visuals in the video to images available in Google Maps.
Comparison of a Google Maps street image in 2021 and the viral video. (Source: X/Google Maps/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
The five banners only appear in Google Maps' photo of the street in 2021. Photos of the exact location from 2020, 2022, and 2023 do not include these banners.
We also found an image of the same banners hanging over Oxford Street on the stock image website 123RF with the caption "London, UK - May 30, 2021: signs hanging over the road on Oxford Street advertising the redevelopment plans for the Oxford Street District - greener smarter future together."
Comparison of the viral video and a stock photo of Oxford Street from 2021. (Source: X/123RF/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
Furthermore, we found that The Hussaini Association, according to its official Instagram posts dated August 16, 2021, organized a march on August 19, 2021. The posts included an invite and map showing the route of the march that included Oxford Street, held on Ashura Day on August 19, 2021.
The Hussaini Association's Instagram posts from August 2021. (Source: Instagram/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram, a public day of mourning observed by Shia Muslims to commemorate the passing of Imam Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The viral video also shows a placard the people carry that reads "THE LEGACY OF HUSSAIN LIVES ON."
The viral video shows a placard commemorating Ashura Day. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
The Hussaini Association also shared pictures of the march on its Instagram and video on its YouTube channel. One Instagram photo showing people marching on Oxford Street, dated August 23, 2021, includes the same visual we have compared above - the five banners. A similar visual can also be seen on their YouTube video, uploaded on August 27, 2021.
Comparison of The Hussaini Association's photo and video from the 2021 march and the viral video. (Source: X/Instagram/YouTube/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
What police and journalists noted
Further, MSNBC broadcaster Mehdi Hasan reposted The Jewish Chronicle editor Jake Wallis Simons' now-deleted X post carrying the same video. It stated that the viral video is not recent. Hasan clarified the video showed a Shia religious procession and included the U.K. Metropolitan Police's reply to Simons' X post.
The Met Police's X post reads, "This video has been shared a lot this weekend. We've seen a number of comments from people who are under the impression it was filmed recently or that it relates to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. We believe it was actually filmed at an Ashura Day event in 2021. It has no link to current events."
The U.K. Metropolitan Police and MSNBC broadcaster Mehdi Hasan have debunked the viral video and the claim circulating with it. (Source: X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
The viral video does not show Palestinian flags or pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli placards. Based on all of these factors, it is evident the video does not show a recent Muslim protest supporting Palestine.
A 2021 video of a religious procession held by Shia Muslims on Ashura day in Oxford Street, London, has been reshared to claim it shows Muslims protesting in support of Palestine recently amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.