By Erica Abbott
skeeze / Pixabay
Reports that a 23-year-old Iranian man was arrested for starting the deadly California wildfires are false. Rumors that an “illegal Muslim” immigrant caused the devastating disaster stemmed from a self-described satire website.
According to Hoax Alert, the fake claim originated on Freedum Junkshun, a website that publishes fake news and political satire. The article claimed that a man named Muhammad Islam was responsible for starting the wildfires that have killed dozens of people and destroyed thousands of businesses in Northern California. It purported:
Islam was born in Tehran, Iran and came to the United States in 2015 on a student visa, which expired when he dropped out of Dartmouth in November 2016. Fox News reported Thursday:
It is unclear what he has been doing since last November. Islam has no social media presence, no phones in his name, no known addresses, and no known aliases.
“It’s like he’s a ghost,” a source at the California FBI told Fox. “The Obama administration just lost him.”
So far, Islam is being uncooperative with the FBI, refusing to answer questions.
According to law enforcement, he was seen exiting a wooded area along California’s Interstate 42. Investigators found a can of gasoline and a blowtorch discarded near the spot where witnesses and photographs place Islam. Fingerprints on the gas can match Islam’s.
The report, however, is entirely fabricated. There was no source from the FBI or any report from Fox News that claimed anyone had been arrested. The photo used in the article actually showsOmar al-Abed, a Palestinian terrorist who killed three people in August. He is in no way connected to the wildfires in California. Additionally, Freedum Junkshun states in their disclaimer that their articles are not meant to be taken seriously:
We believe that there is nothing more precious than the mind of an aging conservative. Here we gather a boatload of bullhonkey, works of pure satirical fiction, to give the fist-shakers of the world a reason to hate. Reality is often in the eye of the beholder. You won’t find any of it here.
Another false story claiming that an immigrant started the wildfires circulated social media this week after officials arrested a 29-year-old homeless man. At a press conference Tuesday, according to BuzzFeed News, Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said of the fake report, “There’s no indication he’s related to these fires at all…I wanted to kill that speculation right now, so we didn’t have things running too far out of control.”
At least 42 people have been killed in the wildfires and more than 7,000 buildings have been destroyed. The devastating fires have caused more than $1 billion in damages, according to the Washington Post. Cal Fire continues to investigate the cause of the wildfires.
Here are some examples of people sharing the fake story on social media:
Social Media Shares Fake Story about “Illegal Muslim” Being Arrested for Starting Wildfire
BREAKING: Illegal Muslim From Iran Arrested For Starting California Wildfire – Freedum Junkshun Go to the full article.
Source:: Business 2 Community