Description: Viral image
Circulating since: 2009
Status: Authentic image / Inaccurate text (see details below)
Email contributed by Joe L., Nov. 4, 2009:
Fw: I'M SURPRISED THAT TEXAS ALLOWS THIS
From a friend in Houston.
Today I went to the Harwin Central Mall to pick up some crystals. 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. I couldn't stay in the building, it made me so sick.
Feel free to share this with others.
Imam Ali flew one of the planes into the twin towers. Nice huh?
Analysis: The mall in Houston is real (it's actually known as the Harwin Central Mart), the store in the mall is real (it's called Perfume Planet), and the sign pictured above was real (it said, "We will be closed on Friday, September 11, 2009 to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Ali (A.S.)").
However, the text of the email contains a blatant falsehood, namely the claim that "Imam Ali" was one of the terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He was not. None of the 9/11 hijackers went by that name.
In point of fact, Imam Ali whom Shia Muslims revere as Muhammad's successor and Islam's First Imam died more than 13 centuries ago, in 661 A.D. His martyrdom is commemorated on the 21st day of Ramadan each year, which in 2009 happened to fall on September 11.
Update: A new (and obviously false) version of this rumor began circulating in September 2012 claiming that the store closing sign was posted in 2012. Example from Facebook:
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.
"We will be closed on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Ali"
Imam Ali flew one of the planes into the twin towers.
Try telling me we're not in a Religious war!
Sources and further reading:
FBI Announces List of 19 Hijackers
FBI press release, 14 September 2001
Shop's Sign Causes Controversy
KTRK-TV News, 16 September 2009
Houston Store's Decision to Honor Muslim Martyr Causes Misunderstanding
KHOU-TV News, 19 November 2009
Muslim Merchant Still Draws Outrage After Viral Photo
Houston Chronicle, 9 July 2010
Last updated 09/10/12