Bogus Claim on Mosque Raid

Q: Were 11 would-be terrorists arrested in a late-night raid at a mosque?

A: No. The FBI confirmed that there has been no such raid.

FULL QUESTION

Late Night Raid On Michigan Mosque Nets 11 ISIS Terrorists and More Than 40 Vests

True story or not?

FULL ANSWER

Federal immigration agents raided 7-Eleven convenience stores across the country in the early hours of the morning Jan. 10 and arrested 21 people suspected of living in the U.S. illegally.

That actually happened.

Something that didn’t happen was a raid on a mosque near Dearborn, Michigan, that led to the arrest of 11 would-be terrorists.

But a website that describes itself as satirical posted a story claiming that “11 ‘very dangerous men’ who aren’t supposed to be in America at all have been apprehended plotting what would have been our next 9-11.”

That site, called Reagan Was Right, has a disclaimer that says, “Everything on this website is fiction.” But the story was picked up and posted by several other sites that have no such disclaimer and shared thousands of times on Facebook.

Readers of those sites posted comments like this one:

Every muslim and mosque needs to be removed from America! Their only plan is to destroy us! Why are we so stupid to not understand that? Thank God for these brave men!

But other Facebook users and some of our readers were more skeptical and flagged the story as potentially false. It is.

Tim Wiley, spokesman for the FBI’s Detroit field office, confirmed to FactCheck.org that there was no such raid and the only named person quoted in the story, “Agent Nesmith Variacles,” is not employed by the bureau.

The story also refers to “The Department of Refugee Affairs,” but there is no such department.

The whole story is made-up — except the name of the city, Dearborn, which is a frequent target for false stories because it has a large Arab American population.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label viral fake news stories flagged by readers on the social media network.

Sources

Spagat, Elliot and Merchant, Nomaan. “Immigration agents descend on 7-Eleven stores in 17 states.” Associated Press. 10 Jan 2018.

Homan, Thomas. “Statement from ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan on 7-Eleven Operation.” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 10 Jan 2018.

Late Night Raid On Michigan Mosque Nets 11 ISIS Terrorists and More Than 40 Vests.” ReaganWasRight.com. 10 Jan 2018.

Wiley, Tim. Interview with FactCheck.org. 12 Jan 2018.

A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.” USA.gov. Accessed 12 Jan 2018.

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