A video showing children in school uniforms performing Islamic prayers is being shared widely across social media with the claim that parents in Australia are upset over the 'Islamisation' of schools in the country. The video is being shared by users as evidence of the purported spread of Islamic radicalization in Australia.
The video, which lasts 1.08 minutes, shows children in school uniforms performing Islamic rituals and other children clad in religious garb. The children wearing school uniforms are told to adhere to Islamic rituals, such as wearing socks to ensure their knees are covered.
Twitter user Megh Updates, notorious for sharing misinformation in the past, shared the video with the claim, “Australia: Parents go furious as a video of children in Australia being taught how to pray in a mosque goes viral.
Furious parents accuse the school of brainwashing and Islamizing their children in the name of pleasing a migrant community.”
Twitter user Minni Razdan shared the video with the claim, “Meanwhile in Australia ….Parents are upset that the schools are brainwashing and Izlamizing their children. “Would muzlim parents want their children to visit a Church and pray to Christ?”, asked one parent. Not just in US, this is happening all over the world."
The videos are viral across Facebook as well.
We noticed the logo of SBS, an Australian broadcaster at the end of the viral video. Ali Kadri, CEO of the Islamic College of Brisbane, is also seen in the video. We conducted a keyword search on this basis and came across an article published on the SBS website on February 15, 2023, titled ‘New SBS series ‘The Swap’ is a bold school experiment.’
The article featured a photo showing 11 students, some of whom are seen in the viral footage. The article noted that the visuals seen are part of a three-part documentary series titled, The Swap.
"What happens when 12 students and families from very different cultures, and religious backgrounds are thrown into each other’s worlds? Exploring whether a ground-breaking social experiment encompassing a school swap can make a real difference in breaking down social barriers and building greater acceptance, respect, and understanding between diverse cultural communities, The Swap also observes the possibility of the experiment backfiring as cultures collide, with the potential for controversies to flare," the description of the show reads.
Adding, “The architect behind The Swap is Ali Kadri, CEO of the Islamic College of Brisbane. Taking part are six Muslim families, four Catholic families and two atheist families. Over one school term, Kadri accompanies the students on an emotional rollercoaster as they experience the anxiety, excitement and wonder of spending time at each other’s schools and with each other’s families and communities.”
As per the SBS website, Bernadine Lim, SBS’s Senior Commissioning Editor, Documentaries, talked about the potential the documentary holds. She says, "We’re excited about the potential for The Swap to spark understanding and create positive transformation for all the families involved, and for all Australians who follow their journey. We’ve been given incredible access to this bold community initiative, and we hope the stories and experiences of those involved will encourage discussion, and enlighten and inspire audiences. It’s a unique story of contemporary Australia.”
After going through the Facebook page of SBS Australia, we found that the viral clip was shared on the page on March 3, 2023.
The caption read, “Sometimes in trying to educate others about our values, we may come across as rude or abrupt… that is something which (the students) have to learn how not to do. The students get a deeper insight into cultural values as some of them attend prayer for the first time. The Swap | Premieres on Wednesday 8 March at 8.30pm SBS and SBS On Demand”
We also came across the trailer of the SBS documentary published on March 2, 2023. The trailer shows children and adults from diverse cultural backgrounds interacting with each other. Some people can be seen offering namaz, whereas some persons can be seen offering prayers to Jesus Christ.
Ali Kadri, the CEO of the Islamic College of Brisbane, tweeted a teaser of the show on February 15, 2023.
In our Fact Check, we came across a report published by Sunday Morning Herald published on February 23, 2023. It quoted the experiences of three participants of the show including Amna Zia Chaudhry of Islamic College of Brisbane, Sonya Gerstel of Ferny Grove State High School, and Martina Vitale of Mount Alvernia Catholic College.
Amna Zia Chaudhary is quoted as saying, “I was the only one wearing a hijab when I visited the Catholic school and while a couple of girls gave me looks, I was shocked at how quickly I became close with [my assigned buddy] Martina and all her friends.” Adding, “I didn’t know much about Catholics and their rituals, like the whole biscuit and wine thing in Mass, so it was interesting to learn about that,” indicating that she attended Catholic prayer sessions.
Martina Vitale is quoted as saying, “The opportunity to go into a mosque and learn something new has made me more open-minded and welcoming of any opportunity that comes my way. I’d do this experiment 100 more times if I could because there was never a dull moment with Amna; we could actually rely on each other and we just stuck together like glue.”
We also came across a Facebook post dated March 9, 2023, by Ferny Grove SHS, which read, “We are so proud of Brynn, Sonya and their families for taking a giant leap of faith and participating in “The Swap”, which premiered at 8.30 pm last night on SBS Australia.…” The children in this news article and Facebook posts match up with those seen in the documentary.
Other colleges, such as MountAlverniaCollege and Padua College Kedron, whose students participated in the SBS documentary show also promoted it through their social media pages.
In another tweet, Kadri targeted those who were spreading false rumors regarding the documentary stating, “Twitter trolls especially from India are going crazy on my show #Theswap, trying to stoke Islamophobia. Thank God for fact-checkers but the damage is done.”
We found that the claim that Australian parents are outraged due to their children being brainwashed to follow Islam is false. The viral visuals are a snipped portion of an SBS documentary on the show ‘The Swap’ where a religious exchange is occurring to enhance cooperation and understanding amongst religious groups. Nowhere is there any evidence of parents being in an irate state due to the show.
If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp at 6364000343.
Also Read: Morphed Photo Of Dainik Jagran Ad Appealing People To Celebrate Environmental-Friendly Holi Is Viral, Know More