Tamara Yesmin Toma

Researcher, Dismislab
Hijab Activist Muskan’s Death Falsely Claimed with Six-Year-Old Photo
This article is more than 9 months old

Hijab Activist Muskan's Death Falsely Claimed with Six-Year-Old Photo

Tamara Yesmin Toma

Researcher, Dismislab

In recent social media posts, false claims have emerged regarding the demise of Muskan Khan, a well-known advocate for the hijab movement in Karnataka, India. These claims gained traction after an old photograph of an unconscious girl wearing a hijab was shared online. However, a thorough verification process revealed that the photo was actually taken six years ago during a protest in Kashmir, and it is unrelated to Muskan Khan.

The misleading posts, accompanied by a caption mourning Muskan’s alleged passing, have been circulating widely (1, 2, 3). The caption reads, “Muskan is no more. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un. The brave Muslima Muskan from India shook the world with the echo of Allahu Akbar. The group of infidels could no longer tolerate it. May Allah grant your beloved servant the highest position in Paradise. Amen, Amen, Amen.”

Through a reverse image search, it was discovered that the photo originally appeared in a report by the news media outlet Rediff.com. The image, captured by photographer Umar Ganie, documented a clash between students and law enforcement during a protest near Sri Pratap College on Maulana Azad Road in Kashmir in April 2017. The report featured several images from the incident, including the photo falsely attributed to Muskan Khan. Therefore, the widely circulated photo mistakenly associated with Muskan Khan is, in fact, a six-year-old image.

It is important to note that similar false claims regarding Muskan’s status surfaced in February of the previous year (1, 2, 3, 4). At that time, the original photojournalist, Umar Ganie, confirmed that the photograph was taken during the 2017 Kashmir protests when contacted by The Quint, a media outlet.

Muskan Khan rose to prominence in February 2022 when a viral video captured her encounter with a group of youths who obstructed her path and chanted ‘Jai Sriram’ while she wore a hijab. Undeterred, Muskan proceeded to her educational institution, chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’. The video garnered attention on social media, leading to Muskan’s popularity.

It is worth noting that false information about Muskan Khan has previously been circulated. In May of the same year, a photo of Tabassum Saik, another hijab activist student from Karnataka, was mistakenly shared as Muskan Khan. Additionally, instances have occurred where someone else’s photograph has been falsely circulated, claiming it to be that of Muskan and her father.