Fake: Merkel Takes Selfie with Belgian Suicide Bomber

On March 25 the obscure German website Mmnews.de published a story entitled “Merkel: a Selfie with the Brussels terrorist?” speculating whether Merkel had been photographed with one of the Brussels terrorists, 25-year old Najim Laachraoui.

Website screenshot Mmnews.de
Website screenshot Mmnews.de

merkel2

Later the photo was republished by the group called Anonymous Kollektiv on the Russian social media site V Kontakte. Anonymous Kollektiv are not the same as the group called simply Anonymous.

merkel3

Anonymous Kollektiv is an anti-Islamic group which promotes the right radical anti-immigration PEGIDA party and glorifies Russia, whose ideas are very far removed from the original Anonymous group. The German weekly Spiegel wrote about the group in November 2015.

merkel4

Stop Fake wrote about Anonymous Kollektiv when the group posted a video purporting to be refugees talking about raping a girl in Berlin. The video was over 6 years old.

The real Anonymous group has never pushed an anti-immigration agenda and firmly supports freedom of speech and anonymity on the internet.

Although the photo of the young refugee with the Chancellor and the photo  of terrorist Najim Laachraoui are different, this post published by Anonymous Kollektiv on their Facebook page and later removed, was nevertheless used a source for fake stories in many Russian publications.

merkel5

Russia’s national channel NTV without a shadow of a doubt claimed that “the German Chancellor was photographed with one of the terrorists responsible for the bombings in Brussels.”

Website Screenshot NTV
Website Screenshot NTV

The young man in the photograph with Angela Merket is 19-year old Anas Modamani from Syria who lives in Berlin with a foster family.

Modamani was interviewed by Deutsche Welle, he said he was saddened to be compared with the Brussels bomber. Modamani’s friend told DW that he attends German classes daily and could not possibly have been in Brussels on the day of the bombings.

Website screenshot Deutsche Welle
Website screenshot Deutsche Welle

RIA Novosti, Pravda.ru, NewInform, Lenta.ru and many other Russian sites carried this fake story.

Website screenshot RIA Novosti
Website screenshot RIA Novosti
Website screenshot Pravda.ru
Website screenshot Pravda.ru
Website screenshot Lenta.ru
Website screenshot Lenta.ru