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Alt News whitewashes Muslim man ‘spitting on food’ in viral video, makes bizarre argument in defense: Details

Author:
Publication: OpIndia.com
Date: November 8, 2021
URL:      https://www.opindia.com/2021/11/alt-news-tries-clean-chit-muslim-man-spitting-on-food-mohammed-zubair-propaganda/?s

When Zubair shared the article, he did so with the purpose of suggesting that the video was not recent and shot in pre-Covid times. In that way, he suggested that such an act by a Muslim man was not a health risk and instead just an 'archaic practice' followed by some Muslims.

On Monday (November 8), Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair tried to justify the actions of a Muslim man, spitting on food, under the pretext of fact-checking.

A popular Twitter user (@erbmjha) had shared a video on Twitter wherein a Muslim man, wearing a skullcap, could be seen spitting on food. While asking Mohammed Zubair to find the origins of the video, the Twitter user wrote, “Wtf. Kindly fact check this Zubair, see if Maulana is spitting or what…”
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BALA @erbmjha

WTF

Kindly fact check this @zoo_bear, see if Maulana is spitting or what....

Nov 8, 2021

Soon after, the Alt News co-founder responded with an article titled, “Old video falsely shared as Muslims spitting on relief food during lockdown.” Although the Twitter user had asked Mohammed Zubair to fact check whether the Muslim man was spitting his saliva into food, the article by Alt News claimed that it was an old video dating to December 15, 2018.
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Mohammed Zubair @zoo_bear
Replying to @erbmjha
https://i1.wp.com/www.opindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Screenshot-2021-11-08T114906.855.png?resize=604%2C490&ssl=1
altnews.in
Old video falsely shared as Muslims spitting on relief food during lockdown - Alt News
A video where a man can be seen scooping some food on a ladle, taking it close to his mouth and blowing on it is viral on social media. According...

Nov. 8, 2021

Alt News co-founder tries to pass off ‘spitting’ as ‘blowing air’ in pre-Covid times

In the article shared by Zubair, the Alt News team tried to justify the act of ‘spitting’ by passing it off as blowing air onto food. “We contacted an Islamic scholar to know what exactly is happening in the video. The scholar said, “It’s called ‘Fatiha Jalana’. It’s done after the food is cooked. Some Quranic verses are read over the food to either pray to Allah to cure diseases or make a wish to Him. Some blow air and some don’t. It’s Fatiha where you take out some food and ask for Barkat (good fortune),” the article read.

It also stated, “He further added that we see a lot of people gathering outside mosques with sick children after the prayers are said. Worshippers who step out of the mosque after reading namaz are asked to blow air over these children as it is believed that it has Barkat bestowed by Allah. It may be noted that this is an archaic practice followed by very few people.” By citing an unnamed Islamic scholar, the ‘fact-checking website’ trivialised the unclean and unhygienic act of putting saliva into food.
https://i2.wp.com/www.opindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Screenshot-2021-11-08T114259.828.png?resize=696%2C156&ssl=1

When Zubair shared the article, he did so with the purpose of suggesting that the video was not recent and shot in pre-Covid times. In that way, he suggested that such an act by a Muslim man was not a health risk and instead just an ‘archaic practice’ followed by some Muslims. Opindia had earlier reported that in Islam, spitting is meant to ward off the ‘evil spirit’ or ‘Satan’. According to Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 513, spitting to your left is a way to be safe from bad dreams. This also gets credence in Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 5463 which says that spitting to your left three times stops the interference of Satan.

Netizens question Alt News co-founder for evading the central question

The Twitter user (@erbmjha), who had shared the original video, quizzed Mohammed Zubair about the act of ‘spitting on food’. He asked, “Did he spit or not? That was the question. This incident is Pre-Covid, during covid or after doesn’t matter much here.”
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Mohammed Zubair @zoo_bear
Replying to @erbmjha
https://i1.wp.com/www.opindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Screenshot-2021-11-08T114906.855.png?resize=604%2C490&ssl=1

Old video falsely shared as Muslims spitting on relief food during lockdown - Alt News
A video where a man can be seen scooping some food on a ladle, taking it close to his mouth and blowing on it is viral on social media. According...
altnews.in

BALA @erbmjha

Did he spit or not? That was the qus. This incident is Pre covid, during covid or after doesn't matter much here.

Nov 8, 2021

As stated earlier, Mohammed Zubair tried to pass of the video shared by the Twitter user (@erbmjha) as old footage, dating back to 2018. Pointing out an obvious flaw in the assertion, popular Twitter user Varada Maratha inquired, “Then what was this guy wearing a mask for in 2018?”
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वरदा मराठे @Varada_M
Replying to @zoo_bear and @erbmjha

Then what was this guy wearing a mask for in 2018?
Image
Nov 8, 2021

Another Twitter user (@datslit) pointed out that the video shared by Zubair and the one shared by Twitter user (@erbmjha) were not the same. “Are you blind because both videos are different? What kind of a fact-checker are you? Also, see one person is wearing a mask… It proves (that) the video is indeed from the Covid period.”
---------------------------------------------------
Shab @datsIit
Replying to @zoo_bear and @erbmjha

Are you blind because both videos are different? Kaha ka fact checker her ❤️ de? Also see one person is wearing mask in this proving the video is indeed from Covid period.

Nov 8, 2021

The Alt News article had claimed that it could not find the origins of the video clip. “While Alt News couldn’t independently verify the origin and context of this video, suffice to say that the video is unrelated to the recent nationwide lockdown,” the article read.

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Full Stack- Fakirappa @BHARATH_H_RAJU
Replying to @Gunned21 @zoo_bear and @erbmjha

And still this @zoo_bear say the location cannot be identified...When it's so obvious it's kerala !

Nov 8, 2021

One Twitter user pointed to a man wearing a veshti and wrote that the video was shot in Kerala. “And still this Zubair say the location cannot be identified… When it’s so obvious, it’s Kerala!”

Past instances when Alt News resorted to questionable methods to further its propaganda
In fact, Alt News has often resorted to using devious methods as a part of its modus operandi to give a boost to its propaganda of keeping the Muslim victimhood narrative alive. It has mastered several methods to further its narrative while disproving a contrarian worldview. Besides using reverse search images for its propaganda purposes, it has also emphasised nitpicking about petty and irrelevant details of an incident to muddle the readers and sow doubts about the narrative around the incident.
 
For instance, last year, when the videos of Muslim vegetable vendors applying saliva to their produce had gone viral, Altnews tried to water down the act by alleging that the video of a Muslim vegetable vendor spitting on the vegetables was not from April but from February, as if spitting on the vegetables in February was totally in accordance with the prevailing societal norms.

The question here was, on what basis did Altnews fact-check the article? Firstly, it is astoundingly ludicrous to premise one’s fact-check not on the event itself but the date and timing of the event. Fact-check as to when and where the incident happened held more importance than the unscrupulous act committed by the man. The fact that the man may have applied saliva to the vegetables did not scandalise them. They were preoccupied with their propaganda of salvaging their agenda, regardless of their culpability.

The same continued with the Tablighi Jamaat episode where Altnews went on an overdrive to whitewash the hoodlums of the Muslim seminary, whose unhygienic practices powered the inexorable rise of coronavirus cases in the country in March-April 2020. However, the slanted ‘fact-check’ website was then so engrossed in their agenda that they could not bring themselves to acknowledge the fact that the cases in the country had indeed skyrocketed because of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi.
 
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