Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show A Mosque Being Destroyed By Israel

Fact Check

  • by: Rebaz Majeed
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show A Mosque Being Destroyed By Israel ISIS Bombing

Does a video on social media show a mosque being bombed by Israel in October 2023? No, that's not true: The footage predates the Hamas-Israel conflict, and shows the Islamic State bombing of the Uwais al-Qarni Mosque in Raqqa, Syria, in 2014.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) published on TikTok by @user4305266923337 on October 18, 2023. The caption, translated from Arabic into English by Lead Stories staff, reads:

A muezzin was calling to prayer in the mosque when he was martyred. He made the call to prayer amidst Israel's bombing of the mosque and, so it will be until the Day of Resurrection, his Lord will call the muezzin, for he died for a cause. O God, gather your victory and provide support for our brothers in Palestine. You are sufficient for us, and you are our fate. There is no power or strength except in God, the Most High, the Great.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-11-08 at 12.53.02.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Nov 8 11:53:08 2023 UTC)

The claim on TikTok was widely shared following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023.

On November 9, 2023, Lead Stories conducted a reverse Google image search (archived here) on various segments of the video. The results showed a video published on YouTube (archived here) by @YSS33 on June 7, 2014, with a caption in French, translated by Lead Stories staff, which reads:

ISIS have destroyed the Uweis al-Qarani Shrine

Screenshot 2023-11-09 at 10.33.08.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thu Nov 9 09:34 2023 UTC)

On the top left corner of the video at 0:16, a watermark of the Islamic State group flag can be seen. In a report published by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in 2014, titled "Satellite-based Damage Assessment to Cultural Heritage Sites in Syria," there are several satellite images of the Uwais al-Qarni Mosque before and after it was bombed by ISIS.

Screenshot 2023-11-09 at 10.55.09.pngScreenshot 2023-11-09 at 10.55.17.png

(Source: UNITAR screenshot taken on Thu Nov 9 09:45 2023 UTC)

In a report published by Arizona State University on May 20, 2014, titled "The Destruction of the Shrine Uways in Raqqa, Syria," several screenshots of an ISIS video showing the bombing of the mosque can be seen. There is a caption in the video, translated by Lead Stories staff, where ISIS states their reason for bombing the mosque as "being the biggest center for Shi'ification of Sunnis and sharing Shiite thoughts in Raqqa province/city district."

  Rebaz Majeed

Rebaz Majeed is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. He is a multilingual freelance journalist and researcher. He worked for five years as a reporter for Voice of America (VOANews) in Iraq. Currently, he is pursuing his MA in Interdisciplinary Studies of the Middle East at Free Berlin University. Rebaz brings extensive knowledge and expertise to his role at LeadStories.

Read more about or contact Rebaz Majeed

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