For the last few months, the members of right-wing groups have been protesting against the people offering the Friday Namaz in public spaces in Gurugram, Haryana. In the same backdrop, a photo of a large gathering offering Namaz on a road and top of vehicles parked there is shared on social media claiming it to be of India.
Tarek Fatah, a Pakistani-born Canadian journalist, shared the photo on Twitter and captioned it, "Blocking traffic on a highway in India to perform Friday prayers. This doesn't seem to me as a prayer; it's a demonstration of numbers to intimidate others. Any attempt to ask them to move to designated prayer spaces will be labelled 'discrimination'."
I Support Arnab Goswami, a Facebook page, shared the photo and captioned it, "Blocking traffic on a highway in India to perform Friday prayers. This doesn't seem to me as a prayer; it's a demonstration of numbers to intimidate others. Any attempt to ask them to move to designated prayer spaces will be labelled 'discrimination'."
The photo is shared on Twitter and Facebook with the same narrative.
A photo shows a large gathering offering Namaz on an Indian highway.
The Logical Indian Fact Check team verified the claim and found it false. The photo is old, shot in 2020 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during a prayer offering at Biswa Ijtema.
We conducted a reverse image search of the photo on the internet, leading us to the website of Alamy, a stock photography agency. The website carried the original version of the picture, an aerial shot. The photo was taken on 10 January 2020 by Sheikh Mohammad Mahadi Hassan. It was described as "Muslims are performing Jumma prayers at The Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of the world's Muslims after Hajj".
We also found a similar-looking photo on the website of Fine Art America, an art marketplace and print-on-demand technology company. The website carried the picture, which showed the Namaz offerers differently postured from the shared one. The photo was uploaded on 9 May 2021 by Azim Khan Ronnie and titled "Standstill for prayers". It was described as "Thousands of Muslims kneel in the middle of a busy road junction to pray, causing a town's traffic to come to a standstill today. The Bishwa Ijtema takes place every year and sees millions come to pray along the River Turag in Tongi, Bangladesh. In the photos, every inch of the tarmac is filled with devoted worshippers bringing a buses and lorries to a grinding halt. It is the second-largest Muslim congregation in the world after the Holy Hajj in Mecca, the holiest city for Muslim".
A gate covered in a green banner can be noticed in the photo. The text on the banner is written in the Bangla language, "বিশ্ব ইজতেমা-২০২০খ্রিঃ সফল হোক" which translated into English read, "May the World Ijtema-2020 AD be successful". Another banner beside the gate in the Bangla language, "ওয়াচ টাওয়ার বিশ্ব ইজতেমা সফল হউক ২০২০ গাজীপুর মেট্রোপলিটন পুলিশ, গাজীপুর।" which translated into English read, "Watch Tower, World Ijtema Succeed 2020, Gazipur Metropolitan Police, Gazipur."
Therefore, we can conclude that the photo of a large gathering offering Namaz on the road is shared with a false claim. The picture is from Biswa Ijtema 2020 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
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