A month into the Israel–Hamas war disinformation about the conflict continues to dominate on social networks.
One 9-second video doing the rounds on Instagram, X and other platforms shows rows of human bodies lying face-up wrapped up in white shrouds with their entire bodies covered, except for their faces. Such enshrouding of the dead body into a white cloth is a common aspect of Islamic burial rituals. The video appears to show two rows of corpses prepared for burial.
Then the camera zooms in on the face of a young "corpse,” who suddenly opens his eyes, looks directly at the person filming him, then moves his mouth imitating a whisper and blinks.
Captions superimposed on the video in Persian, one in red font, the other in white, read:
“I am wondering if the problem is with the Israeli bullets or something else; however, it seems that they are coming alive one by one.”
That is false.
The video was digitally altered with misleading subtitles added to fake connection with Gaza. The original video shows Muslims being trained to perform an Islamic burial ritual, likely -- in Southeast Asia.
One of the most popular reposts by verified X user TheMossadIL had 4.5 million views at the time of this writing.
That post also attracted users who claimed the video showed what is called a “Janaza Management” -- a training for Muslim burial ritual.
A verified user Dr. Novandri Hasan Basri responded to the post, saying it was filmed in “my country, Malaysia.”
Polygraph.info identified the original clip, shared on TikTok on August 17 by a user metjetak17 who posts in Malay. That video does not contain the captions seen later in Akbardarjahanam3’s and others’ posts.
Metjetak17 did not include captions or other tags indicating when or where the video was first shot.
However, several men can be seen wearing a cap called a songkok, which are popular among Muslim men in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia.
Other details of the men's attire are also consistent with dress customs for men visiting mosques in that part of the world. That includes kurtas and/or shirts that cover the elbows.
A man who is seen in the video wearing a pink kurta also has on a headset with a microphone and appears to be giving instructions to the others. Some of the men have lanyards around their necks. A computer, projector and a large screen are also set up parallel to the rows of bodies, indicating the men were conducting an instructional course. All these clues suggest that the video shows a traditional course for Muslim burial and funeral management.
One aspect of these courses is teaching people how to properly shroud a body after it has been cleaned. Other videos posted to YouTube in Malay show individuals practicing enshrouding bodies with living people. People also practice enshrouding bodies with mannequins.
Akbardarjahanam3’s post fits into a broader disinformation pattern, whereby footage from other parts of the world and past times have been misrepresented as originating from the Gaza Strip.
Polygraph.info has documented several such examples.
They include attempts to pass off footage from the war in Syria, or footage of an Indian navy missile test, and footage of militant activity in the Philippines, as coming from the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Another phenomenon documented by Polygraph.info is the use of the derogatory label “Pallywood" by Israel supporters and/or anti-Palestinian social media posters.
Pallywood is a mix of the words “Palestine” and “Hollywood” —and is used to describe the alleged phenomenon, which implicates Palestinians of staging scenes of death and violence using so-called crisis actors to elicit global sympathy and win the PR war with Israel.