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Far-right groups circulate ‘fake’ video of Muslims breaking UK coronavirus lockdown

A screengrab of men praying outside Wembley Central Mosque [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 March, 2020

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Far-right groups and individuals are sharing a video of Muslims praying in the street in London to 'prove' they're breaking coronavirus lockdown rules. Except it's wrong.

A video clip showing Muslim men praying outside a Mosque in London is being shared online by far-right groups who are falsely claiming that British Muslims are violating the coronavirus lockdown order.

In the video, a group of Muslim men appear to be praying outside Wembley Central Masjid, in close proximity of one another.

Geolocation services confirm that the video is indeed in front of the Mosque.

The video, which has been circulating around Twitter has enraged people, with one Twitter user writing: “Muslims pray on the road, in Wembley central in London cause the mosque is closed by the chairman of the masjid during coronavirus. Look at their arrogance!”

Another added: “More than two people congregating isn’t allowed, so why aren’t they being shifted?” and a third person repeated racist tropes and called for “mass deportation”.

Muslims are not violating lockdown orders in the video. In fact, the clip has nothing to do with coronavirus.

The video being circulated is from earlier this year - from before the lockdown was put in place by Boris Johnson.

As Lizzie Dearden, The Independent’s Home Affairs Correspondent was quick to point out, “in the video it’s clearly raining. It’s been wall-to-wall sunshine in London since the new measures came into force. Don’t fall for it.”

At the end of January the mosque closed due to a conflict between the committee and its worshippers.

A public announcement on the mosque’s official Facebook, dated 22 January 2020, confirms this.

“Wembley Central Masjid will remain closed until further notice. There will be no prayers taking place inside the masjid. We request every worshippers’ co operation in this matter," it reads.

The mosque committee had been forced to close the mosque due to criminal offences, including burglary, allegedly committed by the Do Not Donate group, which told worshippers not to give money to the mosque.

Mosque closures

Over 375 mosques and prayer facilities suspended congregational activities in the past week following government instructions on social distancing, the Muslim Council of Britain confirms.

Read More: Al-Aqsa mosque compound shuts down over coronavirus fears

Among these are some of the biggest mosques in Britain, including East London Mosque, which holds 7,000 worshippers, London Central Mosque which sees over 5,000 people, and Birmingham Central Mosque, which regularly hosts over 2,500 people on Fridays.

“Safeguarding all of our communities is paramount, and it’s reassuring so many mosques and prayer facilities have heeded this advice in trying their best to minimise the spread of the coronavirus,” Harun Khan, Secretary General of the MCB said.

“Crowds at mosques draw the elderly, vulnerable and those who are high risk. With the increasing rate of transmission and the number of deaths, for the safety of our families, our communities and society, we cannot afford to take any risks.

“We all have an Islamic and public duty to protect one another from harm, and I hope the remaining mosques, Islamic centres and prayer facilities across the UK take this extraordinary step in these unprecedented times and suspend all congregational activities.”

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