Georgia Imam Arrested for Sending Hurricane Harvey Donations to Syrian Refugees Is Fake News

By Erica Abbott

Reports that a Georgia imam was arrested after keeping Hurricane Harvey donations and sending them to Syrian refugees are false. Rumors of his arrest stemmed from another fake report on a “satire” website.

The fake claim originated on The Last Line of Defense, a website known for publishing fake news and political satire. The article claimed that Imam Sharaj Alkalb of the Ramazala Mosque was arrested for theft by deception after soliciting donations under the guise of Harvey relief—which was then sent to Syria. It purported:

Not long after the Muslims who worship at the mosque had boxed everything up for shipping, they received an unexpected visitor or six. Via local newspaper the Peachton Herald:

Six police officers arrived with a warrant to search for the donations, which they say were stolen because people who contributed were told they would be going to hurricane victims in the United States rather than Muslim refugees overseas.

“I feel lied to,” says 74-year-old Peachton resident Betty Smithers, who contributed half of her social security check to the Ramazala Mosque’s alleged relief efforts. “I gave all I had and more and they are just going to send it overseas?”

[…] Alkalb was arrested and charged with more than 50 counts of theft by deception. His bail has been set to $250,000.

The report, however, is entirely fabricated and is actually a follow-up to a similarly fictitious article. “Satire” website As American As Pie published the initial fake report on Thursday, claiming that the imam had misled the local community in order to send money to Syria. However, neither the imam nor the mosque really exists. (The man pictured is actually Basheer Fard Muhammad, who was arrested in a 2014 raid of the Black Muslim temple in Oakland). There is no truth to the report. The Last Line of Defense clearly states in their disclaimer that their articles are completely untrue:

America’s Last Line of Defense is a satirical publication that may sometimes appear to be telling the truth. We assure you that’s not the case. We present fiction as fact and our sources don’t actually exist. Names that represent actual people and places are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and do not in any way depict reality.

Here are some examples of people sharing the fake story on social media:

Social Media Shares Fake Story about Georgia Imam Being Arrested for Keeping Harvey Donations

Cops Arrest Georgia Imam Who Kept Supplies Meant For Hurricane Victims – Americas Last Line of Defense

— Sunny Skies (@KielSunny) September 8, 2017

Cops Arrst GA Imam Kept Supplies Meant 4Hurricane Victims
This makes me SICK N @lsarsour shld b next in cuffs❣

— #DeplorableMama❣ (@Joy_Shearer) September 8, 2017

Cops Arrest Georgia Imam Who Kept Supplies Meant For Hurricane Victims – WORLD TOP STORY

— M’la (@heifer109) September 7, 2017

Cops Arrest Georgia Imam Who Kept Supplies Meant For Hurricane Victims – Americas Last …read more

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