On 31 August 2017, repeat offender TheLastLineOfDefense.com published a “report” on the “Ramashan Mosque” in Houston, which according to them, refused to help people seeking relief from the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey:
The building can easily hold over 500 people, much more than the 27 currently inside. But the imam of the mosque, Aswat Turads, says that they absolutely cannot accept any non-Muslim people because it’s against their religion.
“The Quran is very clear,” Turads told local news radio station WXTX, “we are forbidden from helping infidels, no matter how much we want to. If we allow Christians and Jews inside, we are violating a fundamental tenant of Islam and will be punished by Allah.
The original version of the story (and an equally fake follow-up post) also included a picture of Canadian imam Ibrahim Hindy, who publicly refuted the story, saying that not only was he in Saudi Arabia completing the hajj Islamic pilgrimage at the time the massive storm hit Texas, he has never been to that state in his life at all:
That’s me in the picture. I’ve never even been to Texas before. https://t.co/jIPfeALckc
— Ibrahim Hindy (@Hindy500) September 2, 2017
The site quickly swapped out its photographs in response. The current version of the story now includes an Associated Press picture of a Lebanese cleric, Ahmad al-Assir, who was arrested by authorities in his country in August 2015.
This story is a complete fabrication, and neither the “Ramashan Mosque” or “Aswat Turads” exist. The radio station named in the article, WXTX-FM, is actually based out of Columbus, Georgia and not Texas. TheLastLineOfDefense.com is a known purveyor of fake news stories. Its disclaimer reads:
America’s Last Line of Defense is a satirical publication that may sometimes appear to be telling the truth. We assure you that’s not the case. We present fiction as fact and our sources don’t actually exist. Names that represent actual people and places are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and do not in any way depict reality.
In other words, if you believe this crap you’re a real dumbass.
Despite its complete lack of any factual content, the hoax story was shared thousands of times; it was also picked up and run verbatim as true by other web sites. In reality, several Houston mosques have taken people in and performed volunteer food and donation drives to help victims of the storm.