Claim: A video shows Dubai authorities destroying a temple — likely the BAPS Hindu Mandir — after heavy rains lashed the UAE in April 2024 over concerns that the place of worship led to the catastrophe.

Fact: The viral clip does not show a temple in the UAE being destroyed; in fact, the video predates the 2024 rainstorms and is likely from China.

On 26 April 2024, Facebook user ‘Zakir Sindhi official’ posted (archive) a reel depicting a man destroying religious statues — idols — among which one appears to be of the Buddha.

The superimposed Urdu text on the reel says:

“اللہ تعالی۔۔۔۔۔۔ کے سوا کوئی معبود برحق نہیں۔💯
اور حضرت محمد صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم اللہ کے رسول ہیں۔❤️
[Allah…… There is no one truly worthy of worship except Him
And Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah.]”

“دبئی میں غذاب کے بعد بھگوانان کو اپنی انجام کو پہنچا رہے ہے
[The [Hindu] gods are being brought to their end after the catastrophe in Dubai]”

The accompanying caption, which includes hashtags such as “#islamabad”, “#islamicreels”, “#Allahuakbar”, and “#اسلام”, is as follows:

“خدا کے سوا کوئی معبود نہیں وہ یکتا ہے نہ کسی کا بھائی ہے نہ کسی کا بیٹا اور نا کسی کا باپ وہ قل شی قدیر ہے
[There is no one worthy of worship except God, He is One, He is no one’s brother, no one’s son, and no one’s father, He controls everything]”

The clip has so far garnered over 3.6 million views, 88,700 likes, 20,000 shares, and 1,900 comments.

Dubai rains, temple conspiracy

The recent flash floods in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) killed at least four people, according to a 19 April 2024 report. Other Gulf states, including Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Oman also experienced heavy rain.

The UAE’s National Center of Meteorology (NCM) said the country “witnessed the largest amounts of rainfall during the past 75 years”, terming the storms and flooding an “exceptional event recorded in its climatic history”.

Al Jazeera quoted the World Weather Attribution (WWA) — a group of scientists who investigate extreme weather events — as saying the heavy rains were “most likely” made worse by global warming “caused by burning fossil fuels”.

Related: Clip of fish swimming in grocery store unrelated to 2024 Dubai floods

Two months prior to that, on 14 February 2024, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated (archive) a Hindu temple — called Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) — in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The BAPS Hindu Mandir “is reportedly the first one to be built using traditional techniques” and “was carved in India and assembled in Dubai”, according to the BBC (archive).

A couple of days before the inauguration, heavy rains flooded Dubai on 12 February 2024, leading to blocked streets and trapped cars “as drainage systems were unable to cope with the downpour”, a report stated (archive). A “red and amber alert” was consequently issued (archive) by the National Center of Meteorology (NCM).

Read more: Viral video mashup includes clips of 2023 UAE rainstorm

At that time, multiple social media users falsely linked the Hindu temple’s inauguration in Abu Dhabi to the flood and destruction in Dubai. Soch Fact Check debunked that claim here.

Following the April 2024 rain storms and flooding, we investigated a clip that social media users claimed showed fish swimming in a grocery store and debunked a viral video mashup as it included footage from 2023.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check’s first observation was that the statue appears to be of the Buddha, not any Hindu deities found in Hindu temples. Moreover, the person seen wreaking destruction in the video appears to be of Central Asian or East Asian descent.

Using reverse image search tools, we were able to trace the video back to a Facebook post from 29 December 2022.

A 30 December 2022 post on X (formerly Twitter) claims it is part of an alleged move by the Chinese government to eradicate traces of any religion, including Buddhism, from the People’s Republic. It is captioned, “Atheist #Chinese destroying the symbol of Peace. #India is surely the home of #Buddha.”

Users @MumukshuSavitri and @CultureTibet added their own comments to the X post, saying the government of China was involved in the “desecration & violence” of Buddhism and that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was destroying Buddhist statues “to eradicate Tibetans’ faith and their right to preserve Tibetan traditions”.

X users @P9Wb1kMpj484jEW and @luoshang1 wrote on 31 December 2022 and 2 January 2023, respectively, that the clip “seems to [show] a Chinese Buddhist temple in the mainland” although the “location and date are unknown”.

China and Buddhism

China has a long history of allegedly destroying Buddhist statues in the autonomous region of Tibet.

Bitter Winter, a magazine on “religious liberty and human rights” published by the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an Italy-based non-profit organisation, has documented the destruction of Buddhist temples here and here. DW News also produced a brief video report on the issue in 2020.

Also read: Inauguration of Hindu temple falsely linked to flood, destruction in Dubai

In February 2022, China allegedly demolished at least three Tibetan Buddhist statues in three months. The same year, the US State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom published a report on China’s alleged restriction and suppression of Buddhism in Tibet.

Back in 2010, the Dalai Lama, the head of Tibetan Buddhism and a spiritual leader, had accused China of attempting to “annihilate Buddhism” in Tibet. Recently, in January and July 2023, he said the country “did everything possible to harm Buddhism”. While Buddhism was “harmed by the Chinese government”, it “could not be destroyed from China”, he added.

Related: Posts falsely allege artist’s work is clip of Hurricane Shaheen

Interestingly, the clip in question also surfaced on 18 February 2024, shortly after the BAPS Hindu Mandir’s inauguration.

Soch Fact Check concludes that while the location and origin of the video could not be verified, the clip existed on the Internet at least as early as December 2022. Therefore, it is definitely not connected to the recent floods in Dubai nor does it depict UAE authorities destroying a Hindu temple after the 2024 floods.


Soch Fact Check found that the video was shared here, here, here, here, and here on Facebook, as well as on YouTube here and here.

A screenshot from the viral clip was included in a Facebook post here.

Conclusion: The video does not depict a Hindu temple in the UAE being destroyed; in fact, the video predates the 2024 rainstorms and is likely from China.

Background image in cover photo: Ahmed Aldaie

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