CLAIM: Video shows attendees of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar converting to Islam.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video was not taken at the World Cup this month. The clip has circulated online since May 2016, and shows an event hosted by a Muslim preacher in Qatar’s capital six years ago, according to pages for the event posted by both the speaker and the venue.
THE FACTS: Social media posts are sharing a video purporting to show attendees of the soccer tournament converting to Islam.
The 30-second video shows four men gathered on a stage, repeating a speaker’s pledge to Allah, the Arabic reference to God. “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah,” they say at one point.
“They come to watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. After listening to the call of Allah, they converted to Islam. Allahu Akhbar!” reads a Sunday tweet that received more than 4,000 likes.
However, reverse image searches show the same clip has circulated online since at least 2016.
A May 2016 tweet that shared the footage stated, “4 people declare their conversion to Islam after a lecture by Dr. Zakir Naik.”
Naik is an Indian Muslim preacher wanted in India for alleged money laundering and hate speech, The Associated Press has previously reported.
Another video capturing a different angle of the same event was also posted to YouTube in May 2016 with a caption stating that it showed an event with Naik on May 26, 2016. A full-length, high-quality video of the lecture posted this week also indicates it took place on that date at an amphitheater in Doha.
A post on Naik’s Facebook page from May 25, 2016, shows he was touring Qatar at the time, with a lecture called “Does God Exist?” set for the following day at the Katara Amphitheater in Doha. Similarly, an event page posted by the amphitheater also shows that Naik was scheduled to give a lecture that day.
Naik in 2019 was banned from public activities in Malaysia after he used racial slurs in speeches, sparking outrage.
Naik’s Facebook page has said he is currently in Qatar. -AP