Tarek Fatah | Commons
Text Size:

A prominent name on social media, Tarek Fatah is an active Twitter user with over 6 lakh followers. But on numerous occasions, the Pakistani-Canadian writer has been found circulating misinformation along communal lines, particularly targeting Indian Muslims. A matter of even more concern is Fatah’s failure to take down misleading tweets despite being made aware of the misinformation. In fact, in the latest spree, he took an extra effort to ensure that his followers remain misled.

Fatah tweeted a video of Burqa-clad persons dancing to a Bollywood number. He questioned – “Could someone confirm if this video is from the #CAA_NRCProtests at #ShaheenBagh or nor?”  There are enough hints in the video which suggest that it does not represent protests at Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The group is dancing around a woman dressed as a bride. Quite ironically, Fatah had tweeted the same video three years ago…twice. When he was slammed for the same, Fatah quietly took down his tweet from August 2017. However, he missed doing the same for the video tweeted earlier in May 2017.

Tarek Fatah’s Twitter timeline is an exhibition of such disinformation and in this article, we will look at some of those instances through the years.

1. Tweeted morphed image to claim Madrasa teacher portraying Islam superior to Hinduism

Last year in June, Tarek Fatah tweeted a photograph claiming that it depicts a madrasa teacher coaching his students that Islam is superior to Hinduism. He later took down the tweet, however, not before it drew numerous retweets.

The image tweeted by Fatah was morphed. In the original photograph, published by several media organisations including ANI, the blackboard has words written in Sanskrit. The teacher was giving the students a lesson on the language. Incidentally, this piece of misinformation had been debunked by Alt News just days before Fatah’s tweet.

2. False claim that a girl was assaulted for not wearing Hijab

Similar to the earlier misinformation, Fatah had claimed that a girl was hit on the head by a man who disapproved of her cycling without wearing a Hijab (archive).

Alt News found multiple Turkish reports which stated that the man had indeed assaulted the 9-year-old. However, none of the reports mentioned a lack of Hijab as the motive of the crime. The incident had gained much prominence in Turkey after the perpetrator was released from jail and referred to a mental health facility. Despite Fatah’s tweet being debunked two years ago, he is yet to take it down.

3. Tweeted video of Islamic flags being raised during Ramzan as Pakistani flags

In his latest bout, Fatah tweeted a video where bike-borne men can be seen waving green coloured flags. The Pakistani-Canadian writer claimed that the flags were of Pakistan and were raised during Ramzan in Tamil Nadu (archive).

However, the flags were not of Pakistani but were Islamic flags often used by the Muslim community in the sub-continent. Alt News’s detailed fact-check can be read here.

4. Tweeted old video to claim Muslims celebrated Congress’s victory by waving Pak flags

The “Pak flags” theory has been propagated by Fatah several times. Last year, after Congress won the assembly polls in Rajasthan, he claimed that the victory was celebrated by Muslims in the state by raising Pakistani flags. Fatah later deleted the tweet but an archived version can be accessed here.

The flags in the video were actually representative of the ‘Indian Union Muslim League’ and not Pakistan. Alt News’s fact-check can be read here.

5. Unrelated video from 2017 shared amidst CAA protests with a communal spin

In the view of protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Fatah retweeted a video of a man sporting a skull cap pelting a stone at a bus.

The video, however, the tweet turned out to be from 2017 therefore unrelated to CAA which was passed by the Parliament in December 2019. Moreover, in the complete video, one can spot a group of people pelting bricks at the bus, whereas in the video retweeted by Fatah, the portion where a man donning a skull cap was throwing a brick was mischievously clipped.

6. Image from 2016 shared as Muslim man hurling stones in recent spate of CAA protests

A photograph of several men pelting stones was shared on social media in the backdrop of protests against CAA and NRC. In the middle of the group is an elderly man wearing a skull cap hurling stone. Fatah tweeted the photograph with the message, “Meanwhile #, in India a ‘peaceful’ in action.”

A reverse search of the image on Google revealed that it is almost three years old. We found the same image posted on January 8, 2016. The user claimed that the image is from the Malda riots.

7. Shared clipped video of Rahul Gandhi to claim he said Gandhiji’s non-violence was inspired by Islam

Fatah’s misinformation cycle is not limited to targeting Muslims but extends to attacking Congress using similar methods. A video where Rahul Gandhi can be heard saying, “Mahatma Gandhi picked up the idea of non-violence from ancient Indian philosophy, from Islam”, was shared by Fatah earlier this year (archive).

The video, however, was clipped. The Congress President did not only mention Islam but other religions as well – “…Mahatma Gandhi picked up the idea of non-violence from ancient Indian philosophy, from Islam, from Christianity, from Judaism, from every great religion where it is clearly written that violence will not help anyone achieve anything.”

The relevant part of Rahul Gandhi’s speech can be seen in the video below starting at 23:37.

Read Alt News’s fact-check here.

8. Video of child abuse in J&K, India, shared as Pakistan

A video of a woman holding a girl by her hair and beating up the child with what seems like a slipper was tweeted by Tarek Fatah in November 2019 with the claim that the incident took place in Pakistan and that such kind of “severe beating” is normal among Punjabi families.

Alt News found that the video is from Nagri area of Kathua district, Jammu & Kashmir and not Pakistan.

Follow Up : Horrible Viral Video of Nagri #KathuaMother detained by Police who brutally thrashed her 5 years old daughter.

JK MEDIA यांनी वर पोस्ट केले शनिवार, १६ नोव्हेंबर, २०१९

9. Trolled Priyanka Gandhi for an error she did not make

“Dear @PriyankaGandhi, ‘Nauroz’ was celebrated last month. The Kashmiri new year’s day being celebrated today is ‘Navreh’,” tweeted Tarek Fatah on April 6, trolling Priyanka Gandhi for her Kashmiri new year greeting (archive).

Alt News found that Nauroz was a perfectly acceptable form of greeting for Kashmiri new year, used by Kashmiris themselves. Our detailed fact-check can be read here.

10. Old video of SP leader Mavia Ali shared as that of Congress leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui

Fatah tweeted a video alleging that Congress leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui said, “Loyalty is for dogs. We Muslims own India; our loyalty is to Islam.”

The video dates back to August 2017. It features Samajwadi Party leader Mavia Ali who had kicked up a storm while reacting to Uttar Pradesh government’s controversial circular asking madrasas across the state to celebrate Independence Day and record a video of the event.

11. Shared old images to claim Saudi officials bulldozed bodies in 2015 Mecca stampede

A tweet that gained 2,400 retweets still adorns Fatah’s timeline despite being debunked by international media (archive).

His claim that Saudi officials bulldozed dead bodies of Hajj pilgrims was made using decade-old photographs.

The misinformation was debunked by France24

12. Tweeted fake news claiming 2,000 Rohingya Muslims join ISIS with plans to attack Nagaland

On October 13, 2017, Tarek Fatah made the aforestated claim via a tweet (archive).

His tweet was inspired by a story published by ANI on October 12, 2017.

Local publication Morung Express had raised the flag about ANI falling for fake news. It reported that the so-called news was circulating widely on Facebook and WhatsApp groups before ANI reported it. Alt News found messages dating back to October 10, 2017, on Facebook which claimed that Rohingyas were going to attack Nagaland. Renchamo P Kikon, IGP of the Intelligence Department of Nagaland Police, termed the news false. A detailed fact-check published by Alt News at the time is available here.

ANI subsequently took down its story and the organisation’s news editor Smita Prakash issued a statement.

While the misinformation cannot be pinned on Fatah since the news was published by ANI, his failure to take down the tweet despite ANI’s clarification shows a lack of concern.

13. Tweeted fake news linking IS-Al Qaeda to annual functions in Kerala college

This piece of disinformation was published by Kerala media outlet Janam TV. The organisation later deleted its YouTube broadcast but a written report is still available on its website.

Alt News found that the flags show by Janam TV were not Al-Queda’s. The media outlet painted a nine-month-old video of an annual day celebration, where students dressed in black, as support to Al Qaeda and Islamic State by the students. Alt News’s investigative report can be accessed here. While the fake news was propagated by Janam TV, Fatah’s failure to take down his tweet (archive) despite fact-checks being published points to a lack of interest to curb misinformation.

14. False claim that female drivers in Saudi Arabia fought on the road on the first day of being permitted to drive

In a historic move promoting women’s rights, Saudi Arabia lifted the decades-old ban on female drives. However, in tweet marred with sexism, Fatah claimed that Saudi women began a “road rage” on the first day they were allowed to drive (archive).

The video tweeted by Fatah was not shot last year but has been on the internet at least since 2015 when women could not drive on Saudi roads. Therefore, it cannot be representative of a fight that took place on the first day after the driving ban on women was lifted on June 24, 2018. SM Hoaxslayer had debunked the video.

15. Tweeted movie clip as Pakistani mother denying polio vaccination to her children

Tarek Fatah tweeted a video with the claim that it shows a Pakistani mother denying polio workers from vaccinating her children. “Pakistani mother slams the door shut in the face of Polio workers. Screams at the two female volunteers,” read his tweet.

The video tweeted by Tarek Fatah is part of a 2018 movie Pakistani film ‘Load Wedding’. The same clip was uploaded on August 2, 2018, on YouTube. One can also spot cameras and the production team in the video.

16. Called former Pakistani cricketer Inzaman ul-Haq “mulla”

On June 16, India played against Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup. A day before the match, Fatah tweeted that the Pakistani captain had to bring “a Mullah to bless the pitch for tomorrow’s match against India.” His tweet was liked over 10,000 times and received more 3,000 times.

The man in the picture was actually former Pakistani cricket captain Inzamam ul-Haq. Despite being called out by numerous people, Fatah neither took down his tweet nor did he post a clarification. He instead made a meme out of the photograph.

17. Retweeted photo posted with the claim that it shows US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar at a training camp of Somali warlord

Columnist Harbir Singh quote-tweeted a tweet that shared a photograph of a turbaned woman holding an automatic weapon. The original tweet claimed that the image showed US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar at an Al-Qaeda training camp in Somalia. This was retweeted by Fatah.

This photograph does not show Omar but a woman recruit of the Somali Army at a military training campus at Halane, Mogadishu. The image is available in the archives of Associated Pressaccording to which it was shot on February 25, 1978. Omar wasn’t born until four years later in 1982.

18. Old video of Kuwait protest shared as deadly explosion in Halal Disco in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Tarek Fatah shared a video on Twitter claiming that it depicts explosions in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s Halal nightclub. “Explosion last night at the Halal Disco in Jeddah Saudi Arabia. Many deaths and many injuries feared. Total ban on media coverage,” read his tweet (archive).

Alt News found that the video was uploaded by an Arabic media outlet Alziadiq8 on July 6, 2014, which described it as protests in Kuwait. A report by Al Jazeera said that on July 6 more than 2,000 people marched from Kuwait City’s Grand Mosque after evening Ramzan prayers and into the old market to protest the arrest of opposition leader, Musallam al-Barrak. The protesters also demanded the expulsion of corrupt judges. The police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd.

19. Chinese dance video edited and passed off as Indian performance on Hindu devotional song

Tarek Fatah tweeted a dance video with the words, “The Magic that is Hindustan.” The video has a Hindu devotional song with chants of Lord Ram playing in the background

Fatah’s tweet was misleading as the dance form has been created by Zhang Jigang, an internationally acclaimed choreographer and an officer in the Chinese national army (PLA). Interestingly, the dance is performed by hearing-impaired artists.

Tarek Fatah is a vocal critic of Islam, however, often blurring the lines between rational scepticism and contempt toward the Muslim community. As laid out in this report, he continually misrepresents events to throw a poor light on Muslims across the world, especially Indian Muslims. He frequently resorts to misinformation that is sectarian in nature to get his point across. Moreover, Fatah’s failure to clarify or takedown tweets that have been fact-checked as false or misleading suggests that he has very little regard for truth. It is also important to point out here that Fatah has been able to weaponise misinformation because Twitter as a platform has failed to control sectarian misinformation adversely affecting democracies across the globe.

Pooja Chaudhuri is a writer at Alt News, actively pursuing media misreports.

This article was first published by Alt News.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

26 Comments Share Your Views

26 COMMENTS

  1. I think Tariq Fatteh is doing a commendable job by exposing the regressive mindset of the Pakistani hardcore establishment and their Army. It seems to be a misreport by you when you say that he directs his fire towards Indian Muslims .

  2. Most of the Indian mullas do need to introspect rather than calling him a traitor. He often brings out the reality within the mindset of Indian mullas. The quicker we Indians recognize this the better for us. The writer may have the greatest of sympathies from the Indian Muslims for this article, but she will soon be forced to clean the mist on her windows.

  3. Just brilliant 👌
    After reading this article, we can freely say that here are still unbiased and fact-based newspapers in the world who are ready to unveil the lies.
    The person you mentioned is well-known bigot, liar and ill-minded person whose sole purpose is just to create chaos in beautiful land of India just by earning and licking the shoes of hindutva gang exactly like other godi media.

  4. Pooja thank you Soo much for showing the real face of this fake Fateh ..
    Multi faced man..
    He hates Muslims plus Pakistanis..
    And trying to show the world that Pakistan is bad.. shame on him.
    He must improve his knowledge about Pakistan and Muslims.

  5. Credibility of the author is questionable as she only writes against BJP and its sympathizers. Never anything against any other party.

  6. Hope “The Print” have put the same efforts in revealing Urban Naxal.

    We are not dependent on you people to make our country remain secular.

    People like you are the main hurdle in the progress of our country.

    Their are two different ideologies:
    – Being secular
    – Pretending secular

  7. By writing this article print itself let him down,aapki credibility pehle hee doubtful hai, aapka thought urban naxal ko support karta hai,aap anti hindu tou likhate hee hai, Congress and muslim dono ke support me aap likhte hai

  8. The comment on the dance form is ridiculous. Fatah says great Hindustan and thats what the China Xinhua News says that it is Bodhisattva dance . Bodhisattva, which in Buddhism means, a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so through compassion for suffering beings. and where did Buddhism originate…..I believe Alt News will agree……in India (Hindustan). The fake Alt news guys are so illinformed and obssed with communistic thinking that they dint even check what is the dance form about and why did Fatah say ‘Hindustan’.

  9. Where ever Muslims are residing in the world, that particular region is fully disturbed due to their stone age mindset. Why do you oversee the bulshit/feudal mindset of stone age people living in this modern planet. Lebanon, Iran, Syria are the latest examples of feudal age mindset.
    But what is misleading is your healing suggesting that he is only attacking Indian Muslims.
    That is absolutely not right and it is purposely meant to mislead the readers.

  10. What is the percentage of the errors compared to the amount of real substance that he has posted and which you conveniently ignore. It is very little. Of course he couldn’t be bothered to reply to fake items or to research in detail on stuff for which he is remotely associated because he is a one man act. I am sure if you confronted him with this he would definitely accept but would take only one sentence to put you in the proper light. So you will still be counting your sour grapes. Enjoy it.

  11. Seriously? how about the fake news reports done by theprint.in? there is a saying in Hindi – translates as when you point one finger at others, 3 others points to you back. Look within your news and try to be honest instead of left leaning !! did you ever bring out the Baloch issue?

  12. Without lies he cannot live a single day. His only aim seems to promote disharmony between humanity. He should be prosecuted and jail should be the final resting place for him

  13. It seems he is attacking Muslim fundamentalism all over the world
    But what is misleading is your healing suggesting he is only attacking Indian Muslims
    That is absolutely not right and it is purposely meant to mislead the readers

  14. Are you moron or something ?
    You are expecting us to believe in you who works in the fake news peddling factor called alt news run by sick Pratik sinha, Zubai and you but not Republic tv, india today,NDTV etc . Dumb appeasing nutcases .

  15. How very clever of you to counter so called fake news with your fake news, which is even worse. How much have you been paid to write such rubbish.

  16. This article shows how the leftist viewed the tarek fateh, tarek fateh criticizes them for being anti-national and therefore become their target. The person who shows them their real image becomes target and tarek fateh is one such target. Shame on you anti nationals. The writer should be banned from writing such a biased provocation articles. But I find The print and the quint are deliberately providing platform for such a provocative articles.

  17. Very good homework. Keep it up. Although I agree with his views, I do not agree that he needs to resort to lies to buttress his arguments. That is dishonourable.

  18. When journalism becomes paid propoganda activists, personal social media activist should not be complained. Tolerance

    24X7 News Propoganda has more responsbility to be exposed than personal tweets.

  19. We have no anticipation from right wing media to be neutral but from left, article like this tarnish it’s image.

    Before teaching right moral value left should follow it first. Many leftists media person, politician posted doctored incorrect news to fan the fire( famous eg is congress official site etc.)

    If a Hindu criticised Hinduism (fact/doctored), he is liberal hero.
    If a Muslim question his fellow Muslim he is gaddar (like left blaming Arif Mohammad khan).

    When right wing media hunts/Single out left liberal they are blamed, but left has the license.

    Left is no “doodh Ka dhula”.
    Both left and right wing so called journalist are sell out.

    If the article was about both side using fake narrative to prove there point we would have praised ur journalism ethoes.

    Try to be neutral next time.

  20. Report such riot inciters by peddling fake news to the Canadian government and police and get him deported back to his home country.

    We don’t need his kind here in Canada.

    • Absolutely, I hope a concerned citizen like you might he helpful in doing so.

      I appreciate that efforts made by Alt News & the Print.

      Thank you Pooja Chaudhary for bringing this to light.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here