Among the various conspiracies surrounding the Paris attacks has been the claim the media is somehow covering up the story of a Muslim security guard who turned away a suicide bomber from the gates of the Stade de France.
The rumour appears to have emerged from an account of events that took place outside the national stadium, which was published by the Wall Street Journal on 14 November.
The story quoted a security guard, referred to only by his first name, Zouheir, who described how one of the suicide bombers had a ticket to the France-Germany match but was turned away at the gates when his explosive vest was discovered.
However, in an apparent misinterpretation of the account, news publications and people on social media have been hailing Zouheir as a lone hero responsible for repelling the attack who has been ignored because of his religion.
His name has been mentioned more than 8,000 times on Twitter, with the most popular tweets in reference to the Paris story.
One tweet was retweeted over 45,000 times, while a Facebook post was shared by more than 9,500 people.
This is so fucking important. It should be retweeted and shared 10000 times pic.twitter.com/HF5I5KnJHI— Rebekka (@SimpIyboca) November 15, 2015
One of the WSJ’s own writers may have added to the confusion with this tweet:
Stade de France security guard named Zouheir blocked suicide bomber wearing explosive vest from entering the stadium https://t.co/YWo71Un5u2— Ahmed Al Omran (@ahmed) November 14, 2015
A clarification tweeted later on the same day was barely noticed:
Correction: he was was stationed by the players’ tunnel, later briefed on the details by his colleagues https://t.co/563k5ZQuHc— Ahmed Al Omran (@ahmed) November 14, 2015
The article does not state that Zouheir was the one who turned away the bomber, merely that he had been "briefed on the sequence [of events] by the security frisking team at the gate".
And while his name is of Middle Eastern origin, the original WSJ report does not mention Zouheir’s religion.
The BBC pointed out that Zouheir's story went viral despite another tale emerging of a Muslim man's heroic action during the Paris attacks. Safer, a bartender at the Casa Nostra restaurant, pulled two injured women into the restaurant's basement as gunfire broke out on the street outside.Reuse content