Video does not show Chinese government destroying mosque

15 February 2024
What was claimed

A video shows the Chinese government destroying a mosque.

Our verdict

This isn’t what is depicted. The footage captures the moment a minaret in Turkey is deliberately demolished after a major earthquake made it structurally unsafe.

A video is circulating on social media with the false claim that it shows a mosque being demolished by the Chinese government.

In the footage, which has been shared on Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter), a minaret in a street collapses in front of a workman and digger.

A caption with a post on Facebook claims that it depicts the “Chinese government destroying another mosque”.

It comes amid reports that thousands of mosques have been demolished or modified in the Xinjiang province of China, and across the country in recent years, with minarets often being removed.

However, this isn’t what this video shows.

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Where is the video from?

The clip shows the demolition of the minaret of Gökoğlu Mosque in Turkey.

Other videos from different angles show the same minaret being brought down in what was described by media as a “controlled demolition”.

Local reports in Turkey covered the demolition of part of the mosque in Seyhan, in the province of Adana in February 2023, after it was damaged by an earthquake.

On 6 February that year a series of earthquakes killed more than 55,000 people in Turkey and Syria—with the first 7.8 magnitude quake hitting south-east Turkey.

While many minarets collapsed during the earthquake, many more were assessed as being unsafe and in danger of collapse in the event of new earthquakes or aftershocks.

Consequently the Gökoğlu mosque’s minaret was one of those deliberately brought down. However, the reports in Turkish media say that some people watching the demolition were injured. 

Misinformation can often spread on social media after disasters and major world events, whether shared deliberately or in good faith.

We have looked at several misleading videos that have been shared on social media claiming to show the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria and their aftermath. We’ve also written a guide on how to verify videos

Image courtesy of Peter Kaminski

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