This photo has circulated in reports since January 2019 about a mosque fire in Indonesia
A photo has been shared repeatedly in blog posts and in Facebook posts in September 2021 alongside a claim that it shows a deadly mosque explosion in Bangladesh. The claim is false: the image has circulated in news reports since December 2019 about a fire at a mosque in Indonesia's Sulawesi island. No deaths were recorded following the fire.
The photo was shared in a Facebook post here on September 6, 2021.
It shows thick smoke billowing from a mosque.
The post's Indonesian-language caption translates to English as: "AC IN THE MOSQUE EXPLODES, 2 MOSQUE ATTENDANTS DIE."
The Facebook post shares a link to a this blog post, published in September 2021.
The blog's headline is identical to the post's caption.
The blog post's first paragraph reads: "A mosque in the city of Narayanganj, Bangladesh, exploded during congregational prayers on Friday night, September 4. The incident is believed to have occurred as a result of an AC explosion at the mosque."
The claim is false.
Indonesian mosque fire
A reverse image search on Google found the photo was published in this report by Indonesian news outlet Kompas on January 29, 2019.
The report's headline reads: "Fire Hits Luwu's Belopa Grand Mosque."
The report's first paragraph reads: "Luwu's Belopa Grand Mosque, which is located in Senga sub-district, Belopa district, Luwu regency, South Sulawesi, was burned to the ground after the dome of the mosque caught on fire on Tuesday, January 29, 2019."
Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo in the misleading posts (L) and the genuine photo in the Kompas news report (R):
Tribun Timur — a subsidiary of the Indonesian-language news outlet Tribunnews — published a video of the incident on January 29, 2019.
It directly corresponds with the photo shared in the misleading posts.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo in the misleading post (L) and Tribun Timur's video (R):
AFP found that the text in the misleading blog post actually relates to an incident in Bangladesh on September 4, 2020.
An air conditioning unit exploded at a mosque in the Bangladeshi city of Narayanganj, according to this report published on the same day by the Dhaka Tribune.
The blast — triggered by a suspected gas leak — killed at least 34 people, the newspaper reported here.
AFP previously debunked posts using images from a fire at a mosque in Indonesia's Aceh province that also claimed to show a mosque explosion in Bangladesh.
AFP also published a fact-check report about the Belopa Grand Mosque here.