False rumor of terrorism threat spreads on Okinawa
A rumor of “a man from Afghanistan planning a terrorist attack in Mihama, Chatan Town” spread over the weekend among local residents in the central Okinawa.
It seems that someone in the 7th Signal Battalion of U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa posted a false story with the picture of a local male resident of Afghan origin on facebook saying, “There is a possibility that this man has planned to attack U.S. military personnel on Okinawa.” The message quickly spread through facebook and other social media all over the island.
The man has nothing to do with terrorist organizations, and he now thinks about suing for defamation. He reportedly stated to a local newspaper, “I was discriminated and defamed only because of my nationality.”
The message has since been deleted from the facebook. However, the original image on the website with a picture of the man said, “Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Okinawa Police warn that this man may attack U.S. military personnel during the holiday season. Please let your family and friends know about this.”
According to the Afghan man, U.S. military investigators visited him on Dec. 23rd and asked about his relationship with IS, and whether he had been at Araha Beach with a knife.
The man said, “I was so shocked. I never even have had a fight. I don’t know why they spread such a false rumor with my photo. I love Okinawa and kind people here, and think about inviting my parents to move in with me. I would like to ask people not to believe in false rumors that only judge from where I am.”