Sikh Man Falsely Identified as Paris Attacker

via video screenshot
via video screenshot
A Sikh man’s innocent selfie was twisted to cause worldwide panic.

Veerender Jubbal, a Sikh man living in the Greater Toronto area in Canada, found himself being wrongly portrayed as one of the terrorists that carried out dastardly attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015.

Sikh Man Falsely Identified as Paris Attacker.[/tweetthis]

Jubbal's original image had him holding up an iPad, which he used to click a selfie of him in the bathroom mirror. This was photoshopped to make it look like the Quran, and a suicide vest was digitally added to complete the effect. The altered image made its way to the front page of La Razón, a leading Spanish daily, and two other Italian newspapers. Sky TG24, an Italian news channel, also posted the image on Twitter, where it has close to 2 million followers. Interestingly, a pro-ISIS channel shared the doctored image on Telegram, the same platform the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria used to claim responsibility for the attacks that claimed nearly 130 lives and injured more than 350. Around of a hundred of them are still critical.

The reason for targeting Jubbal may have nothing to do with terrorism or religion. It is widely believed, and by Jubbal himself, that he was victimized for his criticism of Gamergate. The Gamergate controversy started last year when a former boyfriend of game developer Zoë Quinn accused her in his blog post of having started a relationship with a journalist so that she could receive positive coverage about her game. Those who took the side of the boyfriend grouped under the Twitter handle #GamerGate, where they define it as an idea and not an organization. The Twitter account has been critical of journalists, and Veerender Jubbal is himself a freelance journalist and a games critic.

Jubbal remained cool all through it – he likened gamers to garbage, and tweeted that people wouldn't stop harassing him. He maintained that he was valuable, rad and 'cute as gosh'. He added that the mischief has exposed him to harm. The actions of the media organizations who projected him as a terrorist amounted to libel, he said. He released an official statement to the Sikh Coalition.

Those familiar with Sikh practices point out that it was a poor job, because Veerender Jubbal still wears a patka in the manipulated image and not the commonly seen dastaar turban, which could be confused with the Afghan pagri turban.

#GamerGate has not commented on the photoshopped image so far.


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