Truth Over Lies: Setting the Record Straight on Social Media Misinformation
"Believers, if a troublemaker brings you news, check it first, in case you wrong others unwittingly and later regret what you have done." (Surah al-Hujarat, 49:6)
In this blessed month of the Qur’an, we recall the caution against “fake news” that Allah (SWT) warns us against. Yet, despite the Divine Guidance, at the time of publishing, over 700 individuals have shared the abhorrent lies propagated by Shahzad Younas. Even a cursory glance at his own Twitter thread reveals the numbers he seemingly plucks from thin air simply don't add up. In this sacred time, we urge you to not fall prey to such hateful deceit, and follow the command of Allah (SWT) by checking the deceptive news that you are presented with.
Calling out the Harassment
For years, Penny Appeal has maintained silence, but at the request of concerned donors, we now feel compelled to expose the malicious misinformation campaign led by Shahzad Younas. This individual has been connected to a web of fake social media profiles, peddling truly disgusting lies about individuals associated with Penny Appeal. This includes baseless accusations of Muslim colleagues committing adultery, stealing money, abusing children, and much worse. As with previous Ramadans, the harassment has intensified, targeting Penny Appeal staff and supporters and it is now crucial to set the record straight.
Asking the Critical Questions
We urge you to question Shahzad Younas's motivations and actions.
Why would he rely on fake or anonymous sources, cherry-picking snippets to present as fact?
Why would Shahzad, who is raising funds for Muslim Aid during Ramadan, spread misinformation about other charities in the same space?
Why would an individual shamelessly bully and badger Muslim donors and volunteers with false information year on year?
What kind of individuals and organisations revel in sharing such deceitful information as we approach the last ten nights of Ramadan?
Why, when his own lies are pointed out, will this individual double down and refuse to remove his fictitious claims?
Numbers Don't Add Up: Lies, Passed Off as Truth
Contrary to Shahzad's claims, our latest annual accounts show that 89% of donations go directly towards charitable activities. Shahzad's own table manipulates the truth, significantly underestimating our programmatic spending as £131.6 million out of £178.6 million raised since 2013. This equates to 74%, yet he falsely writes 64% in his own tweet, and then brazenly claims "nearly a third of your donation goes towards costs." He further misrepresents our purchase of a "swanky new large office," conveniently omitting that our new Campus is an income-generating, profit-making endowment that will save millions of pounds in rent for years to come. Evidently, Shahzad favours short-term appearances over long-term sustainability and substance.
Our donation policy and full breakdown of figures are clearly accessible on our website.
Furthermore, our 100% Zakat Policy ensures every Zakat donation entirely reaches those in need. As an organisation, we prioritise transparency and consistently go above and beyond our reporting duties. We stand accountable for every single penny donated and we welcome any queries our donors and supporters wish to raise. Our doors are always open.
A Note of Thanks
We are grateful for those who have acted on the Qur’anic instruction to seek clarification in the face of false news. We hope that those who see through the web of lies will share this message of clarification for those who have fallen for the troublemaking.
As we enter the last third of this blessed month, we are grateful for the unwavering support of our supporters, donors, and partners; those who have witnessed first-hand the life-changing impact of our work.
May Allah (SWT) reward us all for our sincere concern and shower us with His Divine Forgiveness, Love, and Mercy in this last third of Ramadan.
P.S. - Want to make a real difference? Join us in our mission to transform small change into a BIG difference for those who need us most! Let's turn adversity into opportunity, consider donating to one of Penny Appeal's life-changing programmes with a donation - please click here.
TUESDAY 11 APR 2023