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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Saudi Man NOT Sentenced To Death, Did NOT Masturbate To Drawing Of Prophet Muhammad

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Tue, 11 Sep 2018 09:39:32 Z)

Was 21-year-old Abdullah Al Samir sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for masturbating to a drawing of the prophet Muhammad? No, that's not true: the story was made up for entertainment purposes by a website that specializes in fictional stories about bizarre crimes and weird sex acts. None of it is true. Stories from the site frequently get copied by other sites that omit any disclaimers about the story being fake and in this case there is great potential for both racists and religious fundamentalists to get quite upset about a completely fictional piece of "news".

The story originated from an article published by World News Daily Report on September 10, 2018 titled "Saudi man sentenced to death for masturbating to drawing of prophet Muhammad" (archived here) which opened:

Riyadh | A 21-year-old Saudi man was sentenced to death this week for anti-Islamic behavior, blasphemy and idolatry after allegedly masturbating to a drawing of the prophet Muhammad reports the Riyadh Herald.
The former student in graphic design at King Saud University apparently indulged in drawing erotic pictures of the prophet Muhammad in various sexual positions.

The young man sometimes even drew the prophet in sexual acts with people, animals, and even home appliances such as a toaster and a vacuum cleaner.

One such drawing illustrated prophet Muhammad "being sodomized by a camel and performing oral sex onto himself while Allah is observing the scene from up high, smiling" one eyewitness told the judge.

Screenshot of https://worldnewsdailyreport.com/saudi-man-sentenced-to-death-for-masturbating-to-drawing-of-prophet-muhammad/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail so some of them may have thought it was real news:

Saudi man sentenced to death for masturbating to drawing of prophet Muhammad

Riyadh | A 21-year-old Saudi man was sentenced to death this week for anti-Islamic behavior, blasphemy and idolatry after allegedly masturbating to a drawing of the prophet Muhammad reports the Riyadh Herald. The former student in graphic design at King Saud University apparently indulged in drawin

The picture used to illustrate the story is just the result of a Google Image Search for "Saudi Arabia Cutting Head". No other news outlets made any mention of the story.

The website World News Daily Report is a well known satire website specialized in posting hoaxes and made up stories. The disclaimer on their website is pretty clear about that even though you have to scroll all the way down the page to find it:

World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website - even those based on real people - are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.

It is run by Janick Murray-Hall and Olivier Legault, who also run the satirical Journal de Mourréal, a satirical site spoofing the (real) Journal de Montéal. Very often their stories feature an image showing a random crazy mugshot found in a mugshot gallery on the internet or on a stock photo website superimposed over a background of flashing police lights or crime scene tape.

Articles from the site are frequently copied (sometimes even months or years later) by varous fake news websites that omit the satire disclaimer and present the information as real.

We wrote about worldnewsdailyreport.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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