A video featuring a blonde woman in sunglasses has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in online posts claiming it shows US pop star Lady Gaga reciting verses from the Quran. The claim is false; the woman is actually Tunisian singer Sofia Sadek and the clip has been taken from a longer video released by a radio station in September 2016.
Multiple online posts contain the 43-second video, in which the woman, sitting to the left of a man in blue, sings into a microphone.
For example, the clip appeared in a Facebook post published March 30, 2019, where it has been viewed more than 223,000 times and shared more than 12,000 times since.
Translated to English, the Urdu-language caption alongside the video says:
"US singer, actress, Stefani Joanne alias Lady Gaga startled America and Europe by reciting Sourate al-Douha, special video. Like it, share it."
A sourate, or sura, is a chapter of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, according to the Oxford Dictionary definition. Sourate al-Douha is number 93.
Lady Gaga's full name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. The same video and claim have been shared elsewhere online, for example on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
A reverse image search of a screenshot of the video led to news reports in Arabic about a Tunisian singer called Sofia Sadek.
For example, an article on the website of Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm dated April 11, 2019, and an April 3 report on egysaudi.com include pictures of Sadek in reports about a controversy over her performance in a radio programme. The Al-Masry Al-Youm report quotes an Egyptian cleric Ahmad Karimah as saying: “The Quran should be only recited by professionals in order to respect the rules of accurate pronunciation".
The backdrop seen in the video and images on the news websites features the words “Radio Med” and “Cap Bon”. Searching for these keywords on Google led to the YouTube channel here of Radio Med, a radio station based in Cap Bon, northeast Tunisia. Searching that YouTube account found a one minute, 18 second video dated September 24, 2016, with an Arabic-language title that translates as: “Sofia Sadek reciting Quran during an interview”.
The video contains the same footage from the clip in the false Facebook post between around 0:26 and 1:09. Another YouTube video posted here by Radio Med also on September 24, 2016, shows Sadek talking without sunglasses on.
A report on the original video was also published at the time on the website of Egyptian newspaper Al-yawm Al-Sabeh. The article dated September 29, 2019, is headlined: "The singer Sofia Sadek causes a controversy for reciting Quran wearing indecent clothes". The video was also shared in a Facebook post published by a page called “Pakistan News International” on March 29, 2019, where it has been viewed more than 690,000 times.
However the caption has been edited to reflect the fact that the video shows Sadek, not Lady Gaga. It says, translated to English: "Tunisian singer Sofia Sadek startled America and Europe by reciting Sourate al-Douha, special video, those readers who corrected this, may Allah reward them. Like it, share it."