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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Muslim Somali Sex Gang Did NOT Say Raping White British Children Was Part of Their Culture

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Thu, 20 Dec 2018 12:49:15 Z)

Did members of a "Muslim Somali sex gang" responsible for grooming and raping several underage girls claim that raping white British children was part of their culture? No, that's not true: a Macedonian fake news site embellished an actual claim they made to their victims (which was revealed during their 2014 trial) and put it into a misleading headline.

The story recently went viral again with an article published by TVRTINFO.COM on December 17, 2018 titled "MUSLIM SOMALI SEX GANG SAY RAPING WHITE BRITISH CHILDREN "PART OF THEIR CULTURE" - tvrtinfo.com" (archived here) which opened:

This is the chilling moment a member of a 13-strong Somali prostitution gang checks into a hotel where he and a friend would rape a 13-year-old schoolgirl three times. Jusuf Abdirizak, 20, can be seen at the reception of the Premier Inn in Bristol where he and Said Zakaria, 22, attacked the girl, who had been trafficked across the city having already been raped by another man. Abdirizak and Zakaria were both facing jail today after they and 11 other men were convicted for their parts in the rape, abuse and prostitution of four British teenagers, who were were preyed upon and passed around the men's friends for money.

Screenshot of https://www.tvrtinfo.com/2018/12/17/muslim-somali-sex-gang-say-raping-white-british-children-part-of-their-culture/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

MUSLIM SOMALI SEX GANG SAY RAPING WHITE BRITISH CHILDREN "PART OF THEIR CULTURE" - tvrtinfo.com

This is the chilling moment a member of a 13-strong Somali prostitution gang checks into a hotel where he and a friend would rape a [...]

However the entire article was basically copy-pasted from this Mail Online story from November 2014:

13 Somali men convicted of running inner city prostitution ring

Jusuf Abdirizak, 20, and Said Zakaria, 22, raped girl three times in hotel They were members of a gang who abused four schoolgirls Three of the girls were white and one was mixed race They believed they were in relationships with the defendants Some were persuaded to have sex with

Key quote from the article:

Of the four girls, three were white and one mixed race, with a fifth girl witnessing many of the sickening assaults. The girls, aged between just 13 and 17 were in local authority care and fell into the evil clutches of the paedophiles who used the fear of rape to control them. Some were persuaded to have sex with their 'boyfriend's' friends as it was Somali 'culture and tradition' and 'men always have sex with each other's girlfriends'.

So: not all of the girls where "White British children" and the lie they told their victims was that it was Somali "culture and tradition" to sleep with friends of your boyfriend.

In addition the entire copied text of the article doesn't mention the religion of the rapists even once. The original story did have a small side-insert which read in part:

'The Muslim communities in Bristol would like to make it absolutely clear we wholeheartedly condemn these dreadful evil acts. It is right and appropriate that those responsible, and found guilty through our judiciary process are punished to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of who they are.'

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes tvrtinfo.com as:

One of more than forty sites in a network, all registered in Macedonia, that publish false and plagiarized stories, primarily promoting anti-Muslim and pro-Trump narratives.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

The site is indeed part of a larger network which we wrote extensively about here:

Old Network of Anti-Islam Fake News Websites Turns To Twitter Trolling | Lead Stories

Tara, Jesica, Ana, Lora: since a few weeks dozens of trolls on Twitter are dangling bait in front of American Trump supporters. Their goal: bring in as many clicks as possible for two commercial, (potentially Serbian) anti-islam websites. And it is working: in twelve days they reached a potential audience on Facebook of 3.8 milion users.

Sites in the network endlessly repeat the same stolen articles over and over again, counting on gullible visitors not noticing they are reading old and sensationalized "news" so they can make money via ads placed next to the articles.

According to BuzzSumo this particular story has been copied by at least 20 websites now and it seems to have originated in the summer of 2017, three years after the actual trial in which the rapists were convicted.

BuzzSumo

Content Analyzer on BuzzSumo

We wrote about tvrtinfo.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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