FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims To Show Photojournalist Crying As He Takes Pictures Of The Al-Aqsa Mosque

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims to show pictures of a photojournalist crying while he photographed Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Israel.

Verdict: False

The images actually show an Iraqi photographer crying after the Iraq national soccer team lost to Qatar in the 2019 Asian Cup.

Fact Check:

The Facebook post includes a collage of four pictures, three of which show a bearded man looking through the lens of a camera as tears stream down his face. The fourth image shows what appears to be riot police standing in a courtyard littered with trash and debris. “A photojournalist rolls down tears while capturing pictures of Masjid Al-Aqsa in Al Quds” reads the post’s caption.

Al-Aqsa Mosque, also known as “Masjid Aqsa,” is located in Jerusalem’s Old City section and is considered one of “Islam’s most revered sites,” according to BBC News. The location is also the site of The Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, the outlet reported. The mosque has been the site of several violent encounters in recent weeks with Israeli police clashing with Muslim worshippers and Palestinian protesters on May 7 and May 10.

Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found the photos of the photographer crying were not actually taken at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In January 2019 the Asian Cup’s verified Twitter account shared one of the photos of the photographer along with a tweet reading: “Passionate. Emotional moment for an Iraqi photographer during the Round of 16 clash against [Qatar].”

Soccer-based digital media company 433 also tweeted in January 2019 the three photos of the bearded man crying while taking pictures seen in the Facebook post. “So touching! An Iraqi photographer after his country lost in Round of 16 of the @afcasiancup #AsianCup2019,” the tweet accompanying the photos reads. Iraq lost 1-0 to Qatar that year, according to ESPN. (RELATED: No, The Israeli Prime Minister Did Not Confirm Israel Is Responsible For The Beirut Explosion)

While the pictures of the photographer are from a soccer match, the fourth image in the Facebook post does, in fact, show Al-Aqsa Mosque. A reverse image search revealed the photo was published on Anadolu Agency’s website with a description that reads: “JERUSALEM – MAY 7: Israeli security forces are seen as they enter Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, intervene Muslim worshippers with stun grenade during prayer on May 7, 2021.”

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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