Get PolitiFact in your inbox.
A viral image recently posted to Facebook of a woman buried in the ground up to her neck sipping a spoonful of water is misleading users to believe it was taken in Iran, just before the woman was to be stoned to death.
Text just below the photo reads: "A woman just before being stoned to death in Iran under Shariah laws. At some places on this earth, women’s rights are limited to getting a spoonful of water before stoning. Still want to tell me that Islam is worthy of being part of our civilization?"
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The photo is not doctored, but the message is far off. It is completely unrelated to Iran, Islam or stoning.
A reverse-image search of the photograph reveals it started to appear in the meme in 2018. The search also shows that it was not captured in Iran but in Cali, Colombia, in July 2003.
The photo is part of a series taken by various news agencies, like Reuters, and depicts Maria Gabriela Ruiz, a 66-year-old Colombian woman who was one of three people protesting the Colombian government’s failure to relocate 150 displaced people to a safer sector of the city of Cali, according to one caption. Ruiz and others protested by voluntarily burying themselves up to their necks in July 2003, as was documented by photographs of the protests, which are available on Getty Images and Adobe’s stock images.
The photograph is real but has nothing to do with Islam, Sharia law or stoning, as social media’s false caption suggests. This post is Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, April 19, 2019
TinEye, Reverse-image search, April 22, 2019
Getty Images, A boy caresses his grandmother's head (photo), July 4, 2003
Adobe stock images, THREE COLOMBIAN PROTESTERS BURIED UP TO THEIR NECKS IN CALI, July 4, 2003
Hoax-alert.LeadStories, Fake News: NOT A Photo Of Woman In Iran Being Given Spoonful Of Water Before Being Stoned To Death, Aug. 4, 2018
FactCheck AFP, No, this picture does not show a Muslim woman about to be stoned to death, Jan. 15, 2019
New Yorker, War of Words: A woman’s battle to end stoning and juvenile execution in Iran, Dec. 27, 2015
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.