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ISIS Selling Yazidi Women In Iraq & Syria? Video Of Art Performance Shared Out Of Context

Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Claim
Video showing ISIS selling Yazidi women in Iraq and Syria.

Fact
Video of an art performance in Iraq, does not show an actual incident.

A video showing several burqa-clad women chained together standing motionless in a crowded place, while an elderly man lifts their veil one-after- another, seemingly inspecting them, has been widely shared on social media platforms. Those sharing the clip claim that it shows ISIS selling Yazidi “women and girls in slavery markets in Iraq and Syria!” Newschecker found that the video does not show an actual incident, but an art performance and has been shared out of context.

Multiple social media users shared the ten-second-long-video claiming to show “how lSlS sold Yezidi women and girls in slavery markets in Iraq and Syria!”

Such posts can be seen here, here, here, here, here and here.

Multiple reports detailing the ordeals of Yazidi women held as slaves by ISIS have surfaced over the years. A recent report by The Guardian elaborated about a 24-year-old Yazidi woman, held by IS for 10 years, who was freed by Kurdish fighters in Syria.

The report stated, “The woman said in a video released by the YPJ that she was staying with a family before being taken to the camp and was told not to reveal her identity or say that she is Yazidi. The woman said she used a fake name during her stay at al-Hawl until she was liberated.” 

Adding  “They destroyed my life. I was sold and bought like a sheep,” the woman said about the time she spent before being brought to al-Hawl in 2019…“The women who resisted rape used to be killed,” she added.”

Also Read: Viral Photograph Claiming To Show MS Dhoni Visiting A Gurudwara Amid Ongoing Farmers’ Protest Is Old

Fact Check/Verification

A Google lens search on the keyframes of the viral footage led us to an X post by @TC_KemalBildis, dated January 16, 2024. It carried a longer version of the viral clip.We noticed that another user, @IGmzyevski, had pointed out that the video shows an “art performance shot by Aryan Rafiq near Erbil Castle.”

Screengrab from X post by @IGmzyevski

We looked up Erbil castle (Erbil is a city in Iraq) on Google Street View, and found it to be identical to the location seen in the viral video. 

(L-R) Screengrab from viral clip and Google images of Erbil Castle showing same archways

Following this, we searched for keywords “Aryan Rafiq,” and “artist” on Google which yielded Rafiq’s social media profiles. We skimmed through Rafiq’s Instagram account, and found a post, dated August 3, 2023, carrying a video similar to the viral footage. The caption of the same stated, “By Aryan Rafiq, live Performance,  The Unheard Screams Of The Ezidkhan Angels” It also listed the names of the performers.

ISIS Selling Yazidi Women
Screengrab from Instagram post by @aryan.rafiq.artway

 It also listed the names of the performers. We were able to find the Instagram profile of them, Shami Al Ali, in the followers of Rafiq. Ali, an actor/filmmaker, plays the role of a seller who brings the women to the market.

(L-R) Image posted by Al Ali on Instagram and screengrabs from art performance video

On comparing the keyframes of the viral video with the clip shared by Rafiq, we could conclude that they showed the same performance.

(L-R) Screengrab from viral video and screengrab from art performance video

Also Read: Images From Brazil Shared To Show Deforestation In Manipur Since Arrival Of Kukis

We found multiple posts on such art performances on Rafiq’s Facebook page like this, this and this. We also spotted a poster of The Unheard Screams Of The Ezidkhan Angels on her profile.

The full art performance was also posted by Iraq-based Minorities Eye on their Facebook page on August 3, 2023, with the caption, “In memory of the Yazidi genocide and the tragedy of Sinjar, an art presentation entitled: The whispering of the Yazidi angels The unheard scream of the angels of Izid Khan…By: Aryan Rafiq”

Screengrab from Facebook post my @mineyeagency

Old Claim Revived

A slightly longer version of the viral footage had gone viral last year with a claim to show “a market where IS (Daesh) sells sex slaves.” Multiple social media users had shared the video condemning the alleged sale of women in May 2023. Such posts can be seen here, here and here.

We were not independently able to verify the data shared in the viral post.

Also Read: Viral Quote Of Saudi Prince Saying Women Should Decide What To Wear Is From 2018 And Shared Out Of Context

Conclusion

We could thus conclude that a video showing an art performance titled ‘The Unheard Screams Of The Ezidkhan Angels’ has been shared out of context to show a real sex-slave trade in Iraq and Syria by the ISIS.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
X Post By @IGmzyevski, Dated January 16, 2024
Instagram Post By @aryan.rafiq.artway, Dated August 3, 2023
Facebook Post By @mineyeagency, Dated August 3, 2023
Google Images


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Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

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