Canadian man's selfie altered to look like Paris suicide bomber
Altered photo, falsified information used on several European news outlets, newspapers
A Spanish newspaper apologized Sunday after it printed the photo of a Canadian Sikh man, which had been altered and presented as the image of a person responsible for the deadly attacks in Paris on Friday.
An image of Veerender Jubbal, a freelance writer from the Greater Toronto Area, began circulating online shortly after multiple, co-ordinated attacks in Paris left 129 dead and hundreds injured.
The image appeared to show Jubbal, who was not identified by name, wearing a suicide bomb vest and holding a Qur'an.
The photo was eventually posted by an unofficial ISIS support group on the social media platform Telegram, the same platform that ISIS used to claim responsibility for the Paris attacks.
The image was actually a selfie taken by Jubbal in 2014. The iPad he used to take the photo was altered to look like a Qur'an, and a suicide bomb vest was added to his shirt. An object that resembles a sex toy was added to the background of the image as well.
Jubbal took to Twitter to clear his name, writing that he lives in Canada and has never been to Paris.
People are editing, and photoshopping my selfies as if I am one of the people causing the issues/problems in Paris.—@Veeren_Jubbal
You can all check the last retweets. Let us start with basics. Never been to Paris. Am a Sikh dude with a turban. Lives in Canada.—@Veeren_Jubbal
Learn the difference between me being a Sikh, and a Muslim. Cry in mug, while I use your tears to water my garden. I am valuable, and rad.—@Veeren_Jubbal
This whole thing puts me in a bad position in the sense, where I could be harmed and/or hurt due to this. This is libel from news, and TV.—@Veeren_Jubbal
Several news outlets in Europe used the false image, saying it showed one of the Paris attackers.
Spanish newspaper La Razon used a thumbnail of Jubbal's face on the front page of its Saturday paper, with a caption underneath it reading, "one of the terrorists."
Lo primero, como cada día, nuestra portada <a href="https://t.co/RNwPb8iyI9">https://t.co/RNwPb8iyI9</a> <a href="https://t.co/WW6vQrQnOs">pic.twitter.com/WW6vQrQnOs</a>—@larazon_es
La Razon later apologized for using the photo.
<a href="https://twitter.com/larazon_es">@larazon_es</a> publicó ayer por error una foto de <a href="https://twitter.com/Veeren_Jubbal">@Veeren_Jubbal</a> confundiéndole con uno de los terroristas de París. Le pedimos disculpas—@larazon_es
Jubbal thanked the media who were setting the record straight and released a statement through the Sikh Coalition.
Thank you very much to BuzzFeed, people from Spain bringing up the news, and others leaving kind/considerate messages. Strange situation.—@Veeren_Jubbal
My statement on the doctored photo is here from <a href="https://twitter.com/sikh_coalition">@sikh_coalition</a>. Not taking other interview requests at this time: <a href="https://t.co/GW8p5zCh3K">https://t.co/GW8p5zCh3K</a>—@Veeren_Jubbal
"Sikh articles of faith, such as our turbans and beards, represent a commitment to universal justice, equality, and helping others (seva), yet Sikhs continue to be mistakenly and offensively associated with terrorist networks abroad," Jubbal wrote.
"The Sikh community has faced significant violence and discrimination following major terrorist attacks because of our religious appearance. We must be better than this," he wrote.
It's unclear who altered Jubbal's selfie, but he attributed it to members of GamerGate, a controversial online movement that claims to fight for ethical standards in video game journalism.
Jubbal first sparred with GamerGate when it coalesced into a movement in late 2014, starting the hashtag #StopGamerGate2014 which quickly went viral in opposition to what critics labelled a misogynist movement.
Gamers are absolute garbage like I have been saying for a full year. People will not stop harassing, and bothering me. I am cute as gosh.—@Veeren_Jubbal