Claim: ISIS militants fed a captured man’s remains to his distraught mother.
Example: [Collected via Twitter, March 2015]
ISIS Fed A Woman Searching For Her Kidnapped Son Some Meat And Rice To Only Find Out The Meat Was Her Own Son
An old Kurdish woman was searching for her son, held by ISIS. They fed her a meal, but it was her son’s own body
The New York Post‘s version of the tale read:
“Her son was captured by IS fighters and taken as a prisoner to Mosul. She was determined to find her son and went to IS headquarters and asked to see him.” “They brought her cups of tea and fed her a meal of cooked meat, rice and soup. She thought they were kind,” he said. “But they had killed him and chopped him up and after she finished the meal and asked to see her son they laughed and said, ‘You’ve just eaten him,'” Abdulla told The Sun.
“I hate IS because of what happened to an old Kurdish woman from a nearby tribe,” he said.
“Her son was captured by IS fighters and taken as a prisoner to Mosul. She was determined to find her son and went to IS headquarters and asked to see him.”
“They brought her cups of tea and fed her a meal of cooked meat, rice and soup. She thought they were kind,” he said.
“But they had killed him and chopped him up and after she finished the meal and asked to see her son they laughed and said, ‘You’ve just eaten him,'” Abdulla told The Sun.
While a number of news outlets passed the shocking rumor along (with no apparent effort to verify it), the story raises several red flags. The first is that the account is a single-source, second-hand one: not only did the individual from whom
for the claim, but he admittedly did not witness the outrageous scenario himself. No additional information about how the man learned of the horrifying events was supplied in the article, making it quite possibly the manifestation of an urban legend local to Mosul.
Second, no names, dates, or any supplemental detail were provided for the claim. No background information about the incident was included, nor was any proof supplied to corroborate it. The woman was described as brave in confronting her son’s known captors, yet despite being armed with the knowledge that ISIS (or “IS”) had abducted her son, she accepted and ate prepared food in a scenario that defies logic. Had she suspected ISIS militants of kidnapping her son and gone to investigate, would she be likely to accept possibly tampered-with food from the men she believed had harmed her child? Would ISIS’s kind treatment be so readily accepted in such an overtly adversarial interaction?
Third, the rumor mirrors many stories of unwitting cannibalism that far predate the Islamic State. It is nearly identical to the plot of a number of cultural tales, everything from Shakespeare’s
While it is not impossible ISIS militants fed a man’s remains to his mother, the story originated from a single sensationalistic source and was passed on by many other outlets without any additional investigation. No details were provided to determine whether the story was based in fact or born out of fear of Islamic State. The tale bears many common features of an old urban legend, including a horrifying twist ending and the involvement of villains du jour. Ultimately, no substantive evidence suggests that the events described have occurred at any point in recent history.
Last updated: 2 March 2015
Perrie, Robin and Sam Christie. “You’ve Just Eaten Your Son.” The Sun. 2 March 2015. Steinbuch, Yaron. “ISIS Militants Trick Mother Into ‘Eating Her Kidnapped Son’.” The New York Post. 2 March 2015.
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