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Hoax Alert

Fake News: American Tourist NOT Arrested in Saudi Arabia For Refusing To Trade Wife to Prince For 45 Camels

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Tue, 11 Jun 2019 17:28:13 Z)

Was 59-year old Michigan inhabitant Karim Najibullah arrested in Saudi Arabia for refusing to sell his wife to a Saudi prince for 45 camels? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a Canadian entertainment website that makes a living by publishing fictional stories often involving weird crimes, bizarre sex acts or strange accidents. It is not real.

The story originated from an article published on May 31, 2019 titled "Saudi Arabia: American tourist arrested for refusing to trade his wife to a prince for 45 camels" (archived here) which opened:

An American citizen was arrested under the Saudi counterterrorism law this morning in Riyadh and accused of "defaming the reputation of the state or the king" after refusing an offer from a Saudi prince to trade his wife for a herd of 45 camels.

59-year old Karim Najibullah, a Ford Motor Company executive from Dearborn in Michigan, and his 27-year old Saudi wife Aliyah, spent the last two weeks visiting her family in the city of Abha, located in the south-western part of the kingdom.

On Wednesday, the couple was invited to a wedding reception where several members of the royal family were also present, including Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud, a famous horse and camel breeder with a herd including some rare specimens worths over 2 million riyals ($533,300) each.

Screenshot of https://worldnewsdailyreport.com/saudi-arabia-american-tourist-arrested-for-refusing-to-trade-his-wife-to-a-prince-for-45-camels/

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

Saudi Arabia: American tourist arrested for refusing to trade his wife to a prince for 45 camels

An American citizen was arrested under the Saudi counterterrorism law this morning in Riyadh and accused of "defaming the reputation of the state or the king" after refusing an offer from a Saudi prince to trade his wife for a herd of 45 camels. 59-year old Karim Najibullah, a Ford Motor Company ex

The image used to illustrate the story actually came from an article about an execution in Kuwait in 2013:

Rapist and murderer pictured walking to the gallows to face execution...

Egyptians Ahmad Abdulsalam al-Baili and Hajjaj Saadi executed in Kuwait Saadi raped 18 young children while Baili killed couple in arson attack Country restarted executions this year after 12-year moratorium PUBLISHED: 14:23 GMT, 18 June 2013 | UPDATED: 16:32 GMT, 18 June 2013 These haunting images show the last moments of two condemned criminals immediately before they were executed in Kuwait for crimes which have shocked the nation.

The website World News Daily Report is a humor 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.

On March 20, 2019 the site added a new header that included the slogan "Where facts don't matter" to make it clearer to casual visitors the published content is fictional:

factsdontmatter3.png

The site often uses images stolen without attribution from real news websites, sometimes showing real people who have nothing to do with the story, for example here:

Woman Says Newborn Photo Stolen for Satirical Fake News Story

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.

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

A website that publishes hoaxes and made-up stories that are often widely shared and mistaken for news.

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

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

About Lead Stories

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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