Did a New York Mosque Burn an American Flag to Protest President Trump?

Incendiary claims that appear to be calculated to create hostility were created from whole cloth and illustrated with old photographs unrelated to the Trump administration.

  • Published 31 May 2017


A photograph shows Muslims from a New York mosque burning an American flag in protest of President Donald Trump.



On 30 May 2017, the web site The New York Evening published a fake news story claiming that a group of Muslims from a New York mosque burned an American flag in protest of President Trump:

The Masjid Abu Bakr mosque in Flushing, New York, burned an American flag on Saturday in protest of the Trump presidency.

“Down with Trump!” and “Not my president”, they chanted as the flag burned.

Many are disgusted by the act and have called for the mosque to face legal punishment, or at the very least lose their tax exempt status.

This photograph is real. However, it has little to do with President Trump and was not taken at a New York mosque.  It is a photograph originally taken by Associated Press photographer A.M. Ahad on 21 September 2012, and it shows a group of people in Bangladesh burning an American flag in protest of the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims”:

Bangladeshi Muslims burn a U.S. flag and a coffin of U.S. President Barack Obama during a protest in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. The protest was against an anti-Islam film called “Innocence of Muslims” that ridicules Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

The uncropped image, which is available here, shows that the flag was being burned on top of a coffin with the words “Coffin of Obama,” not “Coffin of Trump,” written on its side. The text of this article also has a dubious origin. Despite that, it has been copied by a number of disreputable web sites since it was first published by UndergroundNewsReport.com in February 2017.  That iteration was accompanied by a different photograph, but its caption was no more true than the first:

Again, this image has nothing to do with President Trump or a New York mosque. This image was taken by Reuters photographer Mohamed Abd El Ghany on 12 September 2012 and shows protesters outside of the United States embassy in Cairo:

Egyptian protesters burn the U.S. flag during a demonstration outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, as demonstrators gathered to condemn what they said was a film being produced in the United States that insulted Prophet Mohammad, September 12, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany (EGYPT – Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS RELIGION)

A statement at the bottom of UndergroundNewsReport.com identifies the web site as a “news and political satire” publication:

Underground News Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within Undergroundnewsreport.com are fiction, and presumably fake news. 

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