The widely circulating story “Syrian Girl stoned to death for using Facebook” is fake

725b37006105f102ffa4eae21d9b2912The claim is that in the Syrian city of Rakka, a girl, Fatoum Al-Jassem, was sentenced to death by stoning by the Al-Reqqa religious court after ISIL militants took her to the court.

You are being played – this is not a factual story at all, but is instead pure war propaganda.

It may indeed be tempting to believe this, but if you dig then you will soon find a huge problem … namely the source. It appears to originally come from the Iranian FARS News Agency. We have copies of more or less the same story circulating as “truth” … for example here, and copies of that are now popping up in Facebook and being shared, but FARS is simply not a reliable source and nobody has verified it. Remember now, FARS are the same guys who re-printed a story from The Onion as fact, and also printed weird stories about time machines and aliens … yes really.

OK, so what facts do we actually know.

  • We know that ISIL is widely hated now even within the Sunni opposition and so its opponents would have every incentive to make up stories about it.
  • I am not aware of any Islamic group that would consider the use of Facebook as something that merits death, some do of course frown upon it and discourage its use, and even shun those within their community who ignored that guidance, but death …no.
  • The group in question that is claimed to have dished out the death sentence has in fact got its own Facebook page, so the claim that they issue death sentences for Facebook usage is simply not credible.


So is there any really good independent source for the claim, for example an NGO interview with her family verifying that it really happened?

In a word … no, and until there is, then this story needs to be treated with the appropriate degree of skepticism and dismissed as propaganda.

The war in Syria is not just being fought on the ground with physical weapons, but is also being fought in cyberspace. There is a constant flow of propaganda coming out from all the different factions and sides in Syria. As a result it is effectively impossible to determine whether anything is true or not.

My advice … consider this claimed stoning and all other similar stories from all sides to be propaganda until actually verified by an independent NGO.

Universal Skepticism

It is easy to be skeptical about the things you do not actually agree with, but what do you do when you find an unverified item that appears to confirm what you already know. Critics of fundamentalist extremism know that there are strands of Islamic thinking that are not just intolerant, but are also very violent. This stoning story plays right into that and confirms it, so there can be a considerable degree of temptation to simply “believe” without really thinking, “Is this actually true?”.

Now pause and think, when you first heard the stoning story, did you believe it?

My secondary point here, beyond the fact that the stoning story is actually fake, is that it is very easy for humans to simply pick up and run with items that confirm a previously held belief. It does not make us stupid or ignorant, but rather just human, because we are all prone to doing this.

This is why nurturing critical thinking matters, and why it is important to not simply accept everything thrown at you, but to also consider asking yourself, “Is this claim really true?”, even if it is something that appears to confirm what you already believe to be true.

9 thoughts on “The widely circulating story “Syrian Girl stoned to death for using Facebook” is fake”

  1. U r living in dream land because I know so many other story from the people in Syria that is worst than that. Go check your resources because that is their laws. Go u know they were offering women for Ramadan.

  2. So, this story may not be true but the tone of the author is that he is unbelieving that these type of killings take place, except under the most stringent reasons, which is a lie. The news, coming out of Europe, is full of these honor killings. These people will kill their daughters for the smallest of reasons. To act as if a girl could not be killed for using FB is a false narrative. Just because islamists use FB, does not mean they will not kill a daughter who also uses FB. They are barbaric animals. They kill these girls for not finishing the laundry, as was reported out of Pakistan last month. Liberals are being led to believe that these people are actually good people, just culturally misunderstood. That is an outright lie. Sadly, american liberals will jump on a cause without ever doing any research. Liberals are like children, any shiny toy will distract them and occupy their time. white, American liberals will jump on a cause, and repreat sound bites, without ever caring to find out the truth. Rich sociopaths like George sorros want to see the western nations destroyed. he is one of the most evil men on planet Earth, he donates millions to provide motels, food, income, to anyone who will now travel to american cities and help riot. he wants us all to be at each others throats. Black, white, Jew, Christian, etc. Liberal left is a sickness. It only destroys. islamists are evil. read the german newspapers. Spanish newspapers. The United States and British isles are full of sicl liberals who are distracted by their causes but never want to know the truth. WE ALL NEED TO WAKE UP. ISLAM AND THOSE ON THE LEFT WANT NOTHING MORE THAN TO DESTROY US. WHEN WILL WE STOP FIGHTING EACH OTHER OVER TRIVIAL INSULTS AND REALIZE THAT NAMES CANNOT KILL BUT ISLAMISTS CAN AND DO. THAT IS THE THREAT WE ARE FACING

  3. There was still a young woman being stoned to death!
    Men standing around kicking her and throwing large rocks on her until they killed her while they filmed it!!!
    It still happend!
    That still exists.
    What’s the story?

    • Hi Sue, it is a good observation and so in that context, I’ve written a posting that addresses it. We know that ISIS are a gang of brutal thugs, and so something like this claim is wholly credible, but …. is it really true, and if not, then why are such fictitious claims being made to discredit a group that has no credibility?

      My posting on it all is here, I’ve just posted it up …

    • This is a reply to an actual event by ISIS in an attempt to persuade the world that they really aren’t all that bad. Tell that to the hundreds, no, thousands killed for simply being Christian. ISIS is good for one thing and one thing only. A gang of thugs spreading a warped message about islam, which really isn’t a religion but a hate driven cult!


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