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Viral image does not show Quran found in the deep-sea

Art project by US-based artist shared with false claim

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Claim: An image shared on social media shows a copy of the Quran found in the deep-sea. According to posts, the Quran remained intact and legible despite being underwater for several years.

Fact: The claim is false. The image is not of a Quran that was found in the deep-sea, but of a dictionary that was the subject of a 2014 project by US artist Catherine McEver. McEver conducted a crystallization experiment by using the cleaning product Borax to grow crystals on the book.

On 15 June 2022, Soch Fact Check received a link to a Facebook post carrying the image in question. The text in the image reads; “This Quran was found in a deep sea. It has been in water for several years but remains intact.”

Fact or Fiction?

To investigate the claim, Soch Fact Check conducted a Google Reverse Image search. The results turned up a 2014 blog post by US artist Catherine McEver. The blog post features the viral photo, as well as photos of the book from other angles, and describes the crystallization experiment carried out by McEver in 2014. As explained in the blog post, McEver used the cleaning product Borax to create crystals on a German-English dictionary.

This is not the first time this photo has been shared with the false claim that it depicts a Quran or some other Holy Text.  In 2017, AFP debunked claims that the image shows the Quran or the Bible. Factly India also debunked a similar claim that the image shows in 2019.

Virality

To investigate the virality of the claim, Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for different time periods using the following text:

  • “This Quran was found in a deep sea.”

The first time period  — 28 May  – 27 June  2022 — saw300 interactions across 11 posts on Facebook.

The second time period — 27 June 2021  – 27 June 27 2022 — saw 46,900 interactions across 126 posts on Facebook.

The posts with the highest number of interactions for June 2021 to June 2022 time period can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, on Facebook.

More recent posts sharing the image with the false claim can be found here and here.

Conclusion: The viral image does not show a Quran that was found in the deep-sea. The image is of a dictionary that was the subject of a 2014 project by US artist Catherine McEver. McEver conducted a crystallization experiment by using the cleaning product Borax to grow crystals on the book.

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