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Trump Adviser Smears Syrian Refugees With Debunked Video

The video, from 2012, shows Salafist Muslims protesting an intentionally provocative rally held by a far right-wing German group in Bonn, Germany. There is no evidence Syrian refugees were involved.

Posted on December 21, 2015, at 9:31 a.m. ET


A senior campaign adviser to Donald Trump shared a video on Twitter Friday, falsely asserting that it showed Syrian refugees in Germany rallying for ISIS. The video, which has existed on YouTube since 2012, actually shows Salafist Muslims protesting an intentionally provocative rally held by an extreme right-wing group in Germany.

Daniel Scavino tweeted out the video, which has found new life on the Internet since November, when people on the far-Right began claiming that the clip depicted a pro-ISIS rally. It's unclear where Scavino found the video.

There's no evidence to suggest that those seen in the video are Syrian refugees.

The actual event depicted in the video is a 2012 protest in Bonn, Germany that escalated to violence as members of the Pro-NRW party displayed images of the Muslim prophet Muhammed. A group of Salafist Muslims, a fundamentalist sect of Islam adhered to by fewer than 10,000 of the more than 4 million Muslims living in Germany, protested the demonstration. According to reports of the demonstration at the time, German authorities attempted to block the demonstration with a blockade of police vans, but after a Pro-NRW member showed his placard over the barricade, the Salafist protesters began throwing bottles and stones.

The Pro-NRW party gathered outside of King Fahd Academy, an Islamic school that was built by Saudi Arabia's government in Bonn, and it can clearly be seen in both Scavino's video and news coverage of the event in 2012.

In September, an image from the same rally of a man with a flag was widely shared online by people who claimed that it showed a Syrian refugee with an ISIS flag. As noted by multiple news outlets, it's unclear what is displayed on the flags, and the rally took place before the "ISIS flag" became the group's widely recognized symbol.

Scavino's tweet, which has been retweeted over 1,500 times, fits into Trump's broader anti-Muslim and anti-Syrian refugee campaign message. In early December, Trump called for a temporary ban on all Muslims seeking to enter the United States.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.