(The article was originally published in Newschecker Urdu)
A video showing a large gathering of men performing Namaz inside a stadium is going viral on social media platforms. Those who shared the footage claim that it shows visuals from a stadium in Qatar where the FIFA World Cup is underway. Notably, Qatar is the first country in the Middle East and a Muslim nation to host a FIFA World Cup.
Several Facebook and Twitter users shared the viral clip applauding Qatar, an Islamic nation, for sticking to its traditions. Newschecker found the claim to be untrue. The video is old and unrelated to the ongoing tournament in the Arab country.
The video has also found its way to YouTube.
We conducted Google reverse image search on the keyframes of the viral video, which led us to Facebook post by NEPAL Muslim Community, dated June 4, 2019. The post featured the viral clip with the caption, “The Salah of Eid ul fitr praying Kazan Arena stadium in Kazan, Russia. (sic)”
Further, a keyword search for “Namaz, “ Kazan Stadium,” & ”Russia” on YouTube yielded a video uploaded on the verified channel of The message of Islam, dated June 10, 2019, titled ‘Praying In Stadium | Namaz in Kazan Stadium Russia.’ On analysing the video, we could conclude that it displayed visuals from the same event as seen in the viral clip.
Following this, we translated keywords “Kazan Stadium,Russia” ” Namaz ” & “2019” in Russian with the help of Google translate and looked up the same on the search engine. This threw up several reports from May 2019 elaborating on an Iftar celebration for 15,000 people that was organised in the stadium.
One such report by Real Noevremya, dated May 26, 2019, stated (translated from Russian), “The Kazan Arena stadium turned into a grandiose prayer hall and dining room for one evening. Religious sermons, azan, collective prayer and joint breaking of the fast – all this resembled a mosque.”
It further read, “This year, 1.5-2 times more people came here than the last three years in a row (10 thousand people each), 2-3 times more than in 2015 (according to various estimates, then there were from 5 to 7 thousand people ), and 5 times more than in 2014 (2.5 thousand people). Such a mass breaking of the fast of Muslims took place in the capital of Tatarstan for the seventh time,” – suggesting that such a gathering is an yearly phenomenon.
We found that a similar video of men performing Namaz at the stadium was featured in Getty Images website, with the caption, “Muslims attend the fourth Republican Iftar at Kazan Arena stadium during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kazan, Tatarstan on June 22, 2016.”
We could not independently verify the exact date when the video was shot. However, it dates back to at least 2019, and is not recent. Additionally, the viral video is actually from Kazan Arena stadium in Russia- explaining the word ‘Kazan’ seen in the stands-and not Qatar.
Viral posts claiming to show people performing Namaz at a football stadium during the ongoing FIFA World Cup are false.
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