The gut-wrenching story of the Iraqi family spread quickly across the Internet on Tuesday, depicting what seemed to be among the most calamitous examples of a family torn apart by President Trump’s order temporarily barring people from seven countries from entering the United States. A Michigan man claimed his sick Iraqi mother died a day after being turned away from traveling to the U.S. as a result of the executive order.
“They destroyed us,” the man, Mike Hager, told Detroit’s Fox 2, claiming that if his mother had made it to the United States as scheduled, she would have received the medical treatment necessary to survive. A number of national news outlets published the account, linking to the original interview.
But late Tuesday night, the story began to fall apart. The local Fox affiliate “received many questions about the validity of Hager’s claims that his mother died waiting to be approved to come home,” it wrote. On Wednesday afternoon, the Fox station published a story with the headline: “Man who claimed mom died in Iraq after Trump’s ban lied, Imam confirms.”
Sources close to the family also told The Washington Post that the man appears to have fabricated the tale.
[Judge halts deportations as refugee ban causes worldwide furor]
A leading imam in Dearborn, Mich., who oversees a congregation of primarily Iraqi refugees, including Hager’s family, said Hager’s mother actually died at least five days before Trump’s executive order was put into place.
The imam, Husham Al-Husainy, said Hager sent him a message last month informing him that he would be traveling to Iraq to see his sick mother, Naimma. On Jan. 22 — two days after Trump was inaugurated — community members and posts on Facebook informed Al-Husainy of the woman’s death. She had been living in Iraq for quite some time, and she died in Karbala, Iraq of kidney failure, he said.
Al-Husainy, leader of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center in Dearborn, said he helped lead a number of community prayer services in her honor over the course of the next three days. Al-Hajar had lived in Dearborn on and off since 1995.
D’ye think people have forgotten what “fake but accurate” means yet?
Could be due for a revival as a phrase, no?