FACT CHECK: Did This Indian News Outlet Falsely Report That Greta Thunberg Is A Muslim Woman?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims Indian news outlet OpIndia published an article alleging Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg is actually a Muslim woman named Ghazala Bhat.

Verdict: False

OpIndia has refuted claims that it published the story. The pictured article, which contains a doctored photo of Thunberg in a hijab, has been fabricated.

Fact Check:

The image shows a screen grab of an article purportedly published by the Indian news outlet OpIndia. The supposed article features two pictures of Thunberg: one allegedly showing her wearing a green hijab and one showing her speaking into a microphone. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Justin Trudeau Participating In A Protest In Support Of Indian Farmers?)

A search of OpIndia’s website showed no such article. In fact, the outlet actually published two articles on Feb. 6 in which it called the screen grab “fake” and refuted that it had published the article. OpIndia editor Nupur Sharma also refuted the claim on Twitter, saying in part, “That’s a fake image, you elephantine moron.”

The screen grab of the fake article contains an altered image. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found that Thunberg’s face has been superimposed onto an image of a woman in a hijab published by Agoeng Adry Irawan, an Indonesian-based photographer.

The doctored picture of Thunberg in the hijab in the fabricated article shows a “SecretNews” watermark. Secret News, a French satirical website, describes itself as “a free and independent collaborative parody medium bringing together several contributors.” The satirical website included the altered photo in an October 2019 article.

Thunberg was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2003, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica website. Her parents are opera singer Malena Ernman and actor Svante Thunberg, and she has a younger sister, BBC News and Time Magazine reported.

She first gained global recognition for skipping school to protest against inaction on climate change outside the Swedish parliament and has since become a prominent environmental activist.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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