Canadian man's selfie edited to look like Paris attacker
These images of Veerender Jubbal show a selfie photoshopped to make him look like a terrorist beside his original selfie (Twitter/@Grasswirefacts)
Published Monday, November 16, 2015 1:22PM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 16, 2015 9:33PM EST
A Canadian man whose selfie went viral after it was photoshopped to make him look like a terrorist says the incident was "deeply disturbing," but he hopes it will be an opportunity for people across the world to "grow together" in their "shared understanding for one another."
The altered image appears to show a man wearing a vest of explosives and holding up a Qur’an.
But Veerender Jubbal says the photo is a fake.
According to Jubbal, someone stole one of his selfies, and photoshopped the image to make him look like one of the Paris attackers.
"Let me be clear, the photograph is a fake and I am not affiliated with terrorism of any kind," Jubbal said in a statement Monday.
The original photo, which has also been shared on social media, shows him without a vest and holding up an iPad.
Online commenters were quick to point out a number of flaws in the photoshopped version.
To start, Jubbal is a Sikh and the picture shows him wearing a Sikh turban while holding the Muslim holy book.
Second, the photo shows a North American power outlet, even though it was supposedly taken in Paris.
And though the image was clearly captured straight-on in a bathroom mirror, the altered photo doesn’t show the reflection of a camera.
Despite these inconsistencies, media outlets around the world, including some in Spain and India, published the photo.
"Over the weekend, a photograph was doctored to suggest that I was one of the terrorists associated with the Paris tragedy," said Jubbal.
"This despicable action was then quickly made worse when some international news outlets decided to share the image as truth."
Jubbal tweeted Saturday that he has never travelled to Paris, and is a Sikh man who wears a turban and lives in Canada.
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.— Veerender Jubbal (@Veeren_Jubbal) November 14, 2015
"The Sikh community has faced significant violence and discrimination following major terrorist attacks because of religious appearance – we must be better than this," he said.
After Jubbal and his followers shared the real photo online, Spanish newspaper "La Razon" apologized for publishing the fake image on its front page.
Jubbal has asked other media outlets that used the image to retract the photo and apologize.
Meanwhile, other media outlets also began publishing the original photo and debunking the photoshopped one.
On his Twitter profile, Jubbal identifies himself as a writer, gaming critic and the founder of the hashtag #StopGamerGate2014.
GamerGate refers to a controversy that spread across the Internet last year. Though proponents claimed to be defending ethics in video-game journalism, the so-called "movement" culminated in vicious verbal attacks and threats against feminists online.
On Sunday, Jubbal blamed members of the GamerGate movement for photoshopping his image, though it is still unknown who edited the photo.
While Jubbal is considering legal action over the image, he says he hopes the incident can also provide a lesson in accepting diversity.
"When we paint entire faiths and communities with the same brushstrokes, we further give terrorist exactly what they want," he said.
"We're strongest in the face of terror and bigotry when we stand together."