Fact Check: Putin Did NOT Say 'It's God's Job To Forgive Terrorists, My Job Is To Send Them To Him.'

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Putin Did NOT Say 'It's God's Job To Forgive Terrorists, My Job Is To Send Them To Him.' Made-Up Quote

Did Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly say, "It's God's job to forgive terrorists, my job is to send them to him"? No, that's not true: The attribution, which dates to 2015, was refuted shortly after it was made. Lead Stories could not find any other public figure who said that exact quote.

The claim appeared in a post on Instagram on July 9, 2024. The post's caption read:

Wahala jam network!!! "It's God's job to forgive terr0rists, my job is to send them to Him" -- President Putin 🙆🏽‍♀️👀🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:

putin terrorists IG post.png
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Jul 11 14:14:56 2024 UTC)

The claim is often traced back to a social media post published by Russian Today journalist Remi Maalouf. In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, on November 17, 2015, Maalouf stated that Putin said a variation of the quote used in the claim in question. She reportedly posted that he said, "To forgive the terrorists is up to God, but to send them to him is up to me" (archived here).

However, Maalouf later stated that the quote was not real. In a post (archived here) on X on November 18, 2015, she wrote:

This is the danger of social media! I took Putin's quote from a post on Facebook & it turned out to be false. I apologize.

Lead Stories did a search using keywords on Google News, visible here, which found no credible documents or reporting to corroborate the claim.

Instead, the results only reported that the quote was fabricated. For example, Newsweek updated its 2015 article (archived here) that originally gave credence to the quote and stated that it was not really from Putin.

The origin of the quote is unknown. However, an article (archived here) from U.S. News & World Report attributed the quote to a similar one made by Denzel Washington in the 2004 movie "Man on Fire." Speaking as the character Creasy and in reference to the movie's antagonists, he said (archived here):

Forgiveness is between them and God. It's my job to arrange the meeting.

At the time this was written, the claim had previously been reviewed by Snopes in 2015.

Other Lead Stories fact checks related to Putin can be found here.

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