Our Finding: FALSE. The descibed events did not take place.
On the 27th of March an image began circulating around Arabic speaking social media, claiming to depict the New Zealand Air Force engaged in formation flight and skywriting ‘Allah’ in Arabic. This came 2 weeks after a horrific white supremacist terrorist attack in Christchuch, New Zealand left 50 dead and many more injured.
Since the attack, the manner in which the NZ public and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have voiced support for and solidarity with NZ’s Muslim community has been lauded in international media. The reception throughout the Muslim world has been particularly positive, with an outpouring of sentiment towards NZ and it’s leader reflecting the power and appeal of basic empathy in a world often starved of it. In Dubai, the worlds largest building, the Burj Khalifa, was even adorned with a now famous photo of NZ’s Prime Minister embracing a grieving member of NZ’s Muslim community.
With this however comes the usual tendency of social media to manufacture reality. While vigils, ceremonies and other displays of solidarity did take place, according to our research, the New Zealand Air Force did not go so far as to sky-write ‘Allah’.