Bogus post claims OIC expelled Imran Khan for condemning temple construction in India

Further claims include a UAE representative saying 'Pakistan only takes loans, but fails to repay’

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Claim: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was “expelled from the Conference of Islamic Countries” over his condemnation of the Shree Ram Temple’s construction in Ayodhya, India. The Saudi Arabian king kicked him out and was lauded by other Islamic countries.

Fact: Khan did not attend the 47th CFM meeting in 2020 that was mentioned in the article cited as the source of the claim; Pakistan was represented by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

On 27 December 2021, Soch Fact Check received the screenshot of a post by Vishhal Thakkaar with the following claim: “Imran Khan was expelled from the Conference of Islamic Countries for condemning the construction of the Ayodhya Shree Ram Temple in India.”

Thakkaar — who describes themselves as a “nationalist”, “fact reader”, and “statistics observer” — has 11,757 page likes on Facebook. In their post, which appears to have been copied from elsewhere, they further claimed that leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Maldives, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) spoke against Khan and humiliated him.

According to the post, the representative of the UAE allegedly asked Khan as to why he had an interest in “interfering in the internal affairs of India”, telling him further that Pakistan “only takes loans, but fails to repay”. The president of Maldives reportedly termed Hinduism as “the only selfless religion in the world” while speaking to Khan, the post added.

Khan, it claimed, was kicked out by the King of Saudi Arabia, who told the former to “return to his country” — a move allegedly lauded by “all Islamic countries”. The post credits the development to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The full text from the post can be found in the image below:

According to a CrowdTangle analysis, posts containing the same or versions of the same text gained close to 700 interactions across 33 Facebook posts during the past 30 days.

Fact or fiction?

With the help of CrowdTangle, Soch Fact Check found similar posts that cited a WION News article published 26 November 2020 at 10:15 AM. It reported on the 47th session of the OIC’s CFM that took place 27-28 November 2020 in Niamey, the capital of the Republic of Niger, and focused on the theme “United against Terrorism for Peace and Development”.

The OIC, as per its website, “is the second largest organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents”. It has supported the cause of Kashmir and vowed to continue supporting the right to self-determination of the valley’s people.

Prime Minister Khan did not attend the 47th meeting of the CFM nor did the KSA king and Pakistan was represented by FM Qureshi. The UAE, Maldives, and the Kingdom were represented by Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al-Hashemy, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, and Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, respectively.

Neither Al-Hashemy nor Prince Faisal spoke of India, temples, Hinduism, Ayodhya or anything mentioned in the claim. The claim that he was kicked out by the Saudi king is baseless.

OIC resolutions passed in 2020

According to the meeting report issued by the OIC, “The ministers and heads of delegation delivered statements in the meeting in which they highlighted the various challenges facing the Islamic world.” It did not mention anything pertaining to India.

Among the resolutions adopted by the OIC member states were three related to India; these included Resolution No. 11/47-POL on the Peace Process between India and Pakistan, Resolution No. 10/47-POL on the Jammu and Kashmir Dispute, and Resolution No. 62/47-POL on the Maintenance and Promotion of Regional Peace and Security in South Asia.

The OIC rejected “India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019”, demanded India to refrain “from using live fire and pellet guns against civilians, including women and children”, and condemned “the inhuman, unparalleled practice of use of pellet guns by Indian occupation forces in IOJ&K”. There was no mention of the Ayodhya Shree Ram Temple.

India slammed the body of Islamic countries, saying the “OIC has no locus standi in matters strictly internal to India”.

The OIC’s Resolution No. 3/47-C on Protection of Islamic Holy Places was passed as part of the Cultural, Social and Family Affairs category. This was related to the Babri Masjid and the Ayodhya Shree Ram Temple, over which the body expressed “deep concern” over the Indian Supreme Court’s verdict and demanded “effective measures to prevent the construction of a temple on the site of the Babri Mosque”.

In yet another resolution — No.1/47-MM on Safeguarding the Rights of Muslim Communities and Minorities in Non-OIC Member States — the OIC expressed concern over “the activity of the extremist Hindu groups”, reiterated “its call upon the Indian Government to ensure that the Babri Mosque is rebuilt on its original site”, and condemned “the RSS-BJP’s elaborate and systematic plan […] to further subjugate Muslims in India as a second-class citizens”.

OIC’s 2021 session in Islamabad

The 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC’s CFM — held in Islamabad, Pakistan and with ‘Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan’ as its theme — was attended by Khan and Qureshi.

The prime minister addressed the meeting but did not mention India, while an 8-page resolution was passed on Pakistan’s west-side neighbor.

OIC Secretary General Hussein Ibrahim Taha met Qureshi on 17 December and 19 December in Islamabad. He also met Khan on the sidelines of the OIC moot.

Khan’s address to the OIC can be seen here and information on the OIC’s extraordinary sessions can be found here.

Virality of the claim

Facebook pages and groups with a clear intent of garnering support for India’s Modi and comprising mostly right-wing elements of the country also shared the content. Prominent among these were ‘BJP for 2024’, ‘Pushpendra Kulshrestha Fans Club’, ‘Hindus of the world | एहसान फ़रामोश क़ौम’, ‘Arnab Goswami fan club’, ‘SBM-CHANGE WHAT WE NEED’, ‘India Against Desh Drohis’, ‘Love jihad लव जिहाद’, ‘Saffron Bharat’, ‘Narendra Modi Cyber Army’, ‘NARENDRA MODI ERA’, and ‘RSS’.

Versions of the same post included one that ended with the name of Bharat Raksha Dal Trust official, Manoj Kumar Rai, another with praise for “India’s contribution, pride and secularism”, and one urging people to “join Team Modi Supporter Association”. A Facebook user also shared the screenshot of the message being circulated in WhatsApp groups.

On Twitter, Soch Fact Check found more than two dozen Twitter posts in English. The tweets started appearing on 1 December, with the first one posted at 7:19 AM on 1 December 2021 by an account called ‘PDUK’ and three others in Hindi language on 3 December.

However, there were no such posts on Instagram.

To trace it further back, Soch Fact Check searched Google with the following Hindi translation:

“भारत में अयोध्या श्री राम मंदिर के निर्माण की निंदा करने के लिए इमरान खान को इस्लामिक देशों के सम्मेलन से निष्कासित कर दिया गया था”

The Google search revealed a post on Koo, an Indian app owned by the Bangalore-based Bombinate Technologies Pvt Ltd and that is used to share personal updates and opinions. The post in question appeared on the micro-blogging platform on 30 August, while a similar one was shared on 25 September.

At 6:35 PM on 5 September, Special Coverage News — a Ghaziabad-based media outlet that claims to be “one of the top Hindi news website [sic]” and covers “news of 10 states and 200 districts” — published the text verbatim. The news agency has more than one million followers on its Facebook page.

On 12 December 2021, senior editor and former Indian bureaucrat Manas Ranjan Mahapatra wrote an article titled ‘Advocacy and Publicity-2’ in the National Political Mirror magazine. The piece, too, had the aforementioned text verbatim.

Conclusion: Not only was Khan not kicked out of the conference, he did not even attend the 2020 OIC CFM meeting in Niger. Resolutions passed by the body condemned Indian Supreme Court over its decision related to Babri Masjid and the Ayodhya Shree Ram Temple, demanded measures to prevent the temple’s construction, expressed concern over extremist Hindu groups’ activities, reiterated call upon the Indian government to rebuild the Babri Mosque on its original site, and denounced the RSS-BJP’s plans against the Muslim community.

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