Hoax-Slayer and Snopes: Fighters Against Bad Information

Websites such as Hoax-Slayer and Snopes do good deeds by pointing out inaccurate information. For example, this is an INACCURATE email that has been widely disseminated:

“Subject: Fw: Fwd: Sign in Houston Mall

“What enrages me is that Americans would shop there!!!! Now, this is stepping over the line.


“This is so ‘Unbelievable’….

“In Houston …

“Harwin Central Mall: The very first store that you come to when you walk from the lobby of the building into the shopping area Had this sign posted on their door. The shop is run by Muslims. Feel free to share this with others.


“Imam Ali flew one of the planes into the twin towers.

“Nice huh?

“Try telling me we’re not in a

“Religious war!


Hoax-Slayer provides a brief analysis of the inaccurate email as well as a more detailed analysis. This is the brief analysis: “This sign was indeed posted on the door of a shop at Harwin Central Mall in Houston, Texas in September 2009. However, aside from the date, the sign has no relationship whatsoever with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Imam Ali, the person named on the offending sign, was not one of the September 11 hijackers as claimed in the protest message. In fact, Imam Ali is a holy man much venerated in the Islamic religion and he is viewed by Muslims as the successor to Muhammad himself. Imam Ali died hundreds of years ago in the year 661 AD.” The detailed analysis by Hoax-Slayer ends with this paragraph: “Given the date of the store’s holiday, it is not at all surprising that the sign caused so much confusion and consternation. That said, it seems clear that the store manager meant no disrespect, even though the placing of the sign with such wording at that particular time of the year was certainly ill conceived. Although the initial confusion caused by the sign is certainly understandable, it is hard to imagine how Imam Ali’s name was misidentified in the subsequent protest email as one of the 2001 hijackers other than by a deliberate and wil[l]ful act of deception.” The owner of the store has been threatened because of the erroneous information in this and other, similar emails.

For Further Information: “Muslim Sign in Houston Mall Protest Message – The Martyrdom of Imam Ali.” Hoax-Slayer. Accessed 21 June 2013.


For Further Information: “Store Honors Islamic Martyr.” Snopes. Last updated: 10 September 2012.


For Further Information: UPI, “Muslim shopkeeper threatened in Houston.” UPI.com. 9 July 2010


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