You’ve probably seen these memes before – but you most likely don’t know the truth behind the pictures. These are 3 Facebook memes about the refugee situation that are complete bullshit.
1) This man fights for Islamic State
So let’s tackle this one first that’s fast approaching 100,000 shares. This post claims that the man in the picture is a former ISIS militant who is now pretending to be a refugee. No. No, he’s not.
Thankfully this was researched and debunked in the mainstream media by the BBC. The BBC revealed the man in the photo is Laith Al Saleh, a former commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) who was the subject of a profile by the Associated Press news agency just one month ago.
The short version is that the Free Syrian Army is made from Syrian Army defectors and was one of the factions trying to topple the Assad regime and at the same time were fighting against ISIS.
To be perfectly clear – the Free Syrian Army actually fight against Islamic State, so if you’re going to use that as your moral compass, he’s actually one of the “good” guys.
2) Refugees are cowards that leave behind the vulnerable
There’s so much wrong with this, it’s hard to know where to begin. Similar to the Nazi propaganda that compared Jews to rats, this image tries to dehumanise refugees by painting them as cowardly men leaving their children to die.
An important part of your internet detective tool kit is something called reverse image search. A reverse image search will allow you to search the internet for copies of a particular image, rather than a string of text like usual.
This brilliant bit of investigative research was done by Philip Kleinfeld, in a much more in-depth article on Vice.com about anti-refugee memes.
His internet sleuthing found the source of the photo is from a CBC article that is covering a special train to Munich bringing in refugees. Philip discovered that when he actually watched the video, there are indeed both women and children arriving into the train station too!
Apart from that, don’t forget that the women are allowed to join the British military and will soon likely be taking front line combat roles. Let’s not paint women as some hapless cattle that needs defending while we’re at it.
3) Loads of ISIS supporters arrived in Germany with the refugees
This one is hot off the press in the last 24 hours. The Conservative Post* published a ‘leaked’ photo claiming it shows “clandestine ISIS operatives” coming into Germany literally waving Islamic State flags and having clashes with police.
Apart from the complete absurdity of suggesting that Islamic State would give clandestine agents ISIS flags to wave around, once again – the truth does not match the photo.
Our investigation showed this photo is 3 years old and is taken from a riot that happened in Germany after the right-wing anti-Islamic group, “Pro NRW” held up cartoon images of Prophet Mohammed, faced off with 500 to 600 Salafist Muslims.
It has fuck all to do with refugees.
Think before you share!
There’s a lot more examples of these kinds of posts, they’re being manufactured everyday and the continued sharing of them is simply generating more bad feeling for those that need help. Maybe spend a couple of minutes looking into what you’re sharing – or if you can’t be bothered, just don’t share it at all!
* Thank you to Robert Grandt for locating the original source of the ‘ISIS flag’ picture which was originally incorrectly identified as News360.