Did Elementary School Principal Muhammad Al-Salad Forcibly Implement a Halal Menu?

A satirical Facebook page used a food-based pun to spread fake news about a fictional school principal.

  • Published 10 April 2018
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Claim

Principal Muhammad Al-Salad implemented a Halal menu at an elementary school in West Virginia.

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Origin

On 7 April 2018, a meme was published to the Facebook page of The Last Line of Defense which contained an image of a man ostensibly named Muhammad Al-Salad and a bit of text claiming that he was an elementary school principal in West Virginia who had forcibly implemented a halal menu:

A principal named Muhammad Al-Salad did not implement a Halal menu at a school in West Virginia, because a principal named Muhammad Al-Salad does not exist.  The man featured in this meme is actually named Jesse Morton, a former Al Qaeda recruiter who started working for an anti-extremism think tank after serving a stint in prison: 

In the four years that he ran the Revolution Muslim website out of his walk-up apartment in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Jesse Morton became one of the most prolific recruiters for Al Qaeda, luring numerous Americans to the group’s violent ideology.

[…]

Mr Morton, 37, is now at the forefront of an experiment to counter the pull of groups like the Islamis State and Al Qaeda. After a stint as an FBI informant and his release from prison last year, Mr. Morton has been hired as a fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, where he will research the very ideology he once spread.

[…]

“As many people as may have traveled, or may have committed criminal acts, because of my words, I hope that I can deter just as many,” he said. “I may never be able to repair the damage that I have done, but I think I can at least try.”

He was later arrested for drug and prostitution charges in December 2016. 

In addition to this fictional principal, we also found no record of a Pratchett-Kline Elementary School in Bluefield, West Virginia. In other words, a satirical Facebook page used an image of an unrelated man to spread fake news about a fictional school all for the purpose of using a food-based pun.