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Donald Trump retweets Britain First: What is the truth behind anti-Islam tweets shared by the President?

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 29 November 2017 14:18
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A grainy still from one of the videos posted by Donald Trump. The footage supposedly depicted a Muslim migrant beating up a young boy with crutches – but the attacker was neither a Muslim or a migrant, according to local reports
A grainy still from one of the videos posted by Donald Trump. The footage supposedly depicted a Muslim migrant beating up a young boy with crutches – but the attacker was neither a Muslim or a migrant, according to local reports

Donald Trump has retweeted a series of inflammatory posts about Muslims. And the context might make them even more shocking.

The tweets – originally posted by Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen – showed people being attacked and even killed in video footage. Each of them was caption by a message suggesting that Islam was to blame for the behaviour being shown.

But some of the videos don't even appear to show Muslims or migrants. And all of them have particular contexts to the violence being depicted.

All of the videos appear to be real, in that they are not staged and depict events that truly happened. But one of them occured at a time of widespread violence and was later condemned, another shows an Islamist extremist, and one more appears to be entirely taken out of its context and doesn't show what it claims to.

Video claiming to show a Muslim migrant attacking a Dutch boy on crutches

The first of the posts included the message "Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!" It included a video that appeared to show two men, initially talking but then fighting, with the boy on crutches eventually ending up on the ground.

That video was initially posted in the Netherlands earlier this year. A man was arrested for the attack, and the police asked for the video to be taken down from the Gumpert news site, where it was first posted, according to a police press release.

Gumpert's sister site, Geenstijl, has posted an article mocking Mr Trump for choosing to re-share the video. In it, the site claims that the man involved in the attack was neither a Muslim or a migrant, and it mocked the President for ignoring that to launch an Islamophobic attack.

Post depicting the killing of a boy

The most shocking and intense of the videos depicts a boy being beaten, thrown from a high platform, and apparently killed. It was posted with the message "Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!"

That video was taken in 2013 and actually shows a group of men beating a young cleric who was a critic of Mohamed Morsi, the former president of Egypt. It was taken soon after Morsi was deposed, amid violence and unrest that marred the country that year.

The footage went viral across the country and then the world soon after it happened. And in 2015, at least one man was executed for the killing, and the perpetrator Mahmoud Ramadan became the first of many to be executed for their part in that violence.

Video showing Virgin Mary being destroyed

Another video showed a man holding a statue of the Virgin Mary, speaking to the camera, and then throwing it down on the floor. The tweet read "Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!", and while that is true, the footage was taken in the middle of a conflict.

Numerous, old unconfirmed reports online suggest that this happened in Syria. The man shown smashing the statue is a cleric who was filmed some time after al-Nusra extremists broke into a Syrian town, according to those messages.

Before he smashes the statue he speaks into the camera about the worship of idols. "Allah willing, Allah alone will be worshipped in the Levant, which will be ruled only by the law of Allah," he says in the video. "The idols will be worshipped no more in the Levant, Allah willing. We shall accept nothing but Allah, His religion, and the Sunna of His prophet" before continuing at length.

The video appears to show Omar Gharba, an extremist cleric affiliated to the group who received significant press coverage during the Syrian conflict, but appears to be little discussed anymore.

Those reports can't be confirmed. But the video is definitely a number of years old, and appears to have started being shared online some time around 2013.

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