The Islamophobes Latest Fantasy Rape Fatwa

The Islamophobes Latest Fantasy Rape Fatwa

Sheila Musaji

Robert Spencer wrote Syria: Christians flee rebel areas as fatwa authorizes rape of non-Sunni women.  He introduces an article from Independent Catholic News with his own comment: “According to the sheikh, capturing and raping Alawi or Christian women is not contrary to the precepts of Islam.” Imagine the outcry if a Christian cleric had said that capturing and raping non-Christian women was not contrary to the precepts of Christianity. But no one will take any particular notice of this.”

The same story was peddled by Raymond Ibrahim on David Horowitz’ Frontpage Magazine.  (Spencer’s Jihad Watch site is also a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.)  Ibrahim even brings up again the “gang rape fatwa” claim of another such fatwa by Muhammad al-Arifi which has been thoroughly debunked by Ali Abunimah in the article How AlterNet and Salon fell for “gang rape” fatwa peddled by Islamophobes.

Such false stories spread by the Islamophobia rumor mill have become common, and whether or not to respond to them has been a serious discussion within the Muslim community.  As Robert Crane said in Gang Rape and Global Ethics: The New Challenge of Phobic Orientalism

… The question is whether the power of the internet to expose Islamophobic disinformation and delegitimize it is greater than the power of the internet to promote falsehood either deliberately or innocently, as in the case of Muslims who spread the now debunked myth of a Saudi shaykh legitimizing gang rape.

The Qur’an states that whoever is guilty of spreading defamatory tales about another person without proof is just as guilty as is the originator. But does this apply to one whose objective is to attack the story in order to bring out truth and support justice?

…  The media industry of Islamophobia has been in full swing ever since the collapse of Communism almost a quarter century ago. One question is whether it would it be better to ignore it and instead explain enlightened Islam, or whether the emphasis should be on exposing and thereby spreading the lies of the Islamophobes as a means to stop it?

Perhaps there is no answer to this factual and moral question, but the power of evil going viral in the era of instantaneous communication by individuals to millions of other individuals makes this issue increasingly important in the new era of global ethics and normative jurisprudence, once termed “moral theology” in traditional Christian philosophy and now in Islamic jurisprudence called the maqasid al shari’ah.

Sheikh Musa Furber looked into the “facts” behind this latest story.  He writes Latest Episode in the “Gang Rape” Fatwa Frenzy:

Earlier I wrote about the media’s (and public’s) infatuation with scandalous fatawa, like the“gang rape” fatwa currently making its rounds. This latest fatwa story made its way into English via an article in [Human Events] which attributed the fatwa to “Salafi Sheikh Yasir al-‘Ajlawni,” currently residing in Jordan and formerly in Damascus. Another piece by the same author links to a March 12 article on tayyar.org as its source. Ten minutes of digging produces an earlier March 11 article in Jordan News, naming the Salafi Sheikh as “Yasin al-‘Ajlawni,” currently residing in Irbid, Jordan. The article includes comments from a “Yasin Ahmad Yasin al-‘Ajlawni” who explains the backstory of his fatwa. He explicitly denounces calling for the rape of Syrian non-Muslim women and states that his fatwa called for protecting Syrian women from the rapes committed by the Syrian army itself.

The latest development comes in an April 7 article in Independent Catholic News concerning Aleppo’s Christian community. It includes the following:

Fr David [Fernandez, a missionary of the Institute of the Incarnate Word] said: “Yesterday, Yasir al-Ajlawni – a Jordanian Salafi sheikh, resident in Damascus, released a fatwa on Youtube, declaring that it is lawful for opponents of the regime of Bashar al-Assad to rape “any Syrian woman not Sunni. According to the sheikh, capturing and raping Alawi or Christian women is not contrary to the precepts of Islam.”

There is much wrong with this claim. First, the Jordanian Salafi would be “Yasin al-Ajlawni” not “Yasir al-Ajlawni.” Second, he is a resident of Irbid, Jordan, not Damascus, Syria. Third, Yasir al-Ajlawni denied making such a fatwa. Forth, the fatwa he referred to predates April 6 by many weeks.

There is a story here. But the story is not about actual gang rape fatwas but rather the use of hoax fatwas in the propaganda war against the Syrian opposition.

Are there some extremist Muslim scholars, and some who have issued fatwas that require a response from mainstream Muslim scholars.  Absolutely!  Are mainstream Muslim scholars attempting to counter these extremists with clarifying fatwas and statements?  Absolutely!

Continuously coming up with these “fantasy fatwas” as part of an effort to demonize the entire Muslim community does no one any good. I have long wondered why it is that if Muslims and Islam are so terrible, why do Islamophobes find the need to make up so many lies in order to prove that allegation?

The fact that these “news stories” and articles are simply wrong doesn’t change the fact that they are “out there” and that they will be read and believed by many of the same folks who believe the supermarket tabloids.  They will be forwarded or passed on, and commented on, and the stories will grow and more and more people will accept them as “facts”.

When Muslims are charged with something the word Islam or Muslim is attached to whatever crime they are accused of, and the story makes the front page headlines, when they are found not guilty or innocent, that goes somewhere on the back pages in small print.

The comments left on internet sites by the readers of these sorts of articles show the sort of response this sort of propoganda provokes.  What I don’t understand is who gains by such demonization of an entire faith.

See also:

About that Supposed Egyptian Necrophilia Law & fatwa, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/about-that-egyptian-necrophilia-law
About that “wear a veil or be raped story”, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/about-that-wear-a-veil-or-be-raped-story
Crucifixions in Egypt & Al Azhar Fatwas Encouraging Violence?: More Islamophobic Nonsense, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/crucifixion-story
Cucumber “fatwa” seems to be only shoddy reporting, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/cucumber-fatwa
Exhibit A in How an Islamophobic Meme Can Spread Like Wildfire Across the Internet, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini http://www.alternet.org/world/exhibit-how-easily-islamophobic-meme-can-spread-wildfire-across-internet
Fatwas & Statements by Muslim Scholars & Organizationshttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/muslim_voices_against_extremism_and_terrorism_part_i_fatwas
Gang Rape and Global Ethics: The New Challenge of Phobic Orientalism, Dr. Robert D. Cranehttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/gang-rape-and-global-ethics-the-new-challenge-of-phobic-orientalism
Pamela Geller Wrong About “Sexual Jihad” Fatwa, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/pamela-geller-on-sexual-jihad-fatwa
Geller and Spencer Fantasize About “Muslim Rapists” in Norway, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/geller_and_spencer
Holier than thou: extremism against Islam, Sheikh Musa Furberhttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/holier-than-thou-extremism-against-islam
Islamophobes See “Jihad” Everywhere, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/jihad-everywhere
The Media’s Infatuation With “Gang Rape” Fatwa, Sheikh Musa Furberhttp://musafurber.com/blog/blog/2013/04/04/the-medias-infatuation-with-gang-rape-fatwa/
Resources for dealing with Islamophobes, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/there-is-a-reason/0019403
Sharia, Fatwas and Women’s Rights, Asghar Ali Engineerhttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/sharia_fatwas_and_womens_rights
Syrian rape ‘fatwa’ hoax exposed, Alexander Baron http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/347521
What everyone “knows” about Islam and Muslims, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/what_everyone_knows
What is a fatwa? Who can give one? (supposed Al Azhar fatwa authorizing violence against protestors), Sheikh Musa Furber http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/what-is-a-fatwa-who-can-give-one
Yes, MEMRI, there is a Fatwa from Khamenei forbidding Nukes, Juan Colehttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/yes-memri-there-is-a-fatwa-from-khamenei-forbidding-nukes

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RESOURCES FOR DEALING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA SUMMARY

The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade.  They have a manifestofor spreading their propaganda, and which states their goal of “destroying Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion.” They produce anti-Muslim films.  They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally.   They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”

Currently, the Islamophobia Industry is engaged in a full-scale, coordinated,  demonization campaign against American Muslims and Arabs. In just the past few months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations:    There was the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month.   Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.   Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover.  Terry Jones held a “trial of Prophet Muhammad”.  SION held a “global” gathering in NYC to plan propaganda strategy.  A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day.   AFDI/SIOA has run a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation across the country.   AFDI/SIOA are planning to run 8 more anti-Muslim ads.  There are three more films on Prophet Muhammad in the works by Ali Sina, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Imran Farasat.   They are even bringing their hate messagesinto public schools.

Daniel Pipes is encouraging publication of “A Muhammad cartoon a day”, and says “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”.  Pipes joins Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?.  And, both are following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defense of free speech.    None of this is surprising as one of the Islamophobes laid out their strategy as “The Muslims themselves have shown us their most vulnerable spot, which is the questionable (though unquestioned) character of the ‘Prophet’ himself. We need to satirise and ridicule baby-bonking Mo until the Muslims fly into uncontrollable tantrums, then ridicule them even more for their tantrums, and repeat the process until they froth at the mouth and steam comes out of their ears.”

The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences.   The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.

Sadly, the Islamophobic echo chamber has been aided by some in the Jewish and Christian clergy, and even by some of our elected representatives, particularly in the GOP.

The claim that the Islamophobes are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broadbrush demonization” or “advocated violence”, or thatnothing that they say could have had anything to do with any act of violence,  are nonsense.  The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist,  or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense.

These individuals and organizations consistently promote the false what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims (including distorting the meaning of Qur’anic verses, and distorting the meaning of Islamic terms such as taqiyyajihadsharia, etc.).

The most commonly repeated false claims about Muslims and Islam are that:

Everyone “knows” that most or all terrorists are Muslims, and there are no Christian and no Jewish terrorists (or terrorists of any other religious stripe), and that Muslims are all militant, inherently violent, more likely to engage in violence against civilians, and more likely than other Americans to be radicalized.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not interested in dialogue.  That Muslims don’t helpChristians in need.  That Muslims can’t have Christians as friends, and are anti-Semites,Holocaust deniers, and intolerant of other faiths.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t unequivocally denounce terrorism, that American Muslim leaders have not responded to radicalization in their community,  that mosques are the sourceof radicalization, that 85% of mosques are run by radicals, that Muslims don’t cooperate with law enforcement.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not equivalent to real Americans, that they are the enemy within, and a fifth column,  that good Muslims can’t be good Americans, that Muslims are notloyal to America, that they are not a part of our American heritage,

Everyone “knows” that Islam itself is the problem and makes Muslims “backward”, that Muslims have made no contribution to the West, that Islam is “of the devil”, a Crescent menace, a“green peril”, that was spread by the sword,  an “evil encroaching on the United States”, andnot a religion.

Everyone “knows” that this is a Christian nation, which the Muslims are trying to take over, starting with getting an Eid stamp which is the first step towards shariah law which is a threatto America, and a threat to our judicial system, by purposefully having more children than others to increase their numbers, and they will be the majority in this country in 20 years.  Muslims are a threat to America

Everyone “knows” that Muslims have no respect for the Constitution, they don’t obey the laws of the United States,  that they are opposed to freedom of speech, don’t allow and freedom of religion.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims are given a pass by the elite media.  It’s “us versus them”.

Everyone “knows” that the Muslims’ goal is world domination under a Caliphate, and the proposed Cordoba House in NYC is a demonstration of supremacism and triumphalism, and that Muslims planned to open it on the anniversary of 9/11.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t speak out against extremism or terrorism, and even those Muslims who do speak up or seem moderate are simply lying or practicing taqiyyah.

Everyone “knows” that the Qur’an is uniquely violent, that the Islamic concept of God doesn’t include God’s love, and does not include the concept of a Golden Rule,  that Allah is a moon god.

Everyone “knows” that Islam is a monolith and all Muslims are the same, like the “Borg”.  This means that every act committed by an individual who is a Muslim is directly attributable to Islam, and never because the individual is crazy, criminal, or perverted.

Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t have a sense of humor

Everyone “knows” that Muslims are like the Fascists and Nazis and that in fact they supported those movements.

The problem is that what “everyone knows” is wrong.  These self-righteous and incorrect statements are usually followed by a demand that the Muslim community do something about whatever is the false flag of the day or face the inevitable consequences.

Islamophobes falsely claim to see “JIHAD” PLOTS everywhere, particularly where they don’t exist.   They, like Muslim extremists, don’t understand the true meaning of the term jihad.  The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking”, non-existent Muslim jihad plots.

Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam.    Islamophobes consistently push demonstrably false memes such as:  – we are in danger from creeping Sharia, – the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized,  -  There have been 270 million victims of “jihad”  -  There have been 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11    - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded.  Muslim and Arab organizations and individuals are connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or theunindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.

When Islamophobes are caught in the act of making up or distorting claims they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence.

There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic.  There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE)  are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”.  There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.  There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism.  — the NYCLU reportReligious Freedom Under Attack:  The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State.  — the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security.  — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry.   There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature.   There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.

See Resources for dealing with Islamophobes for many more reasons that these people cannot be trusted.

Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989.  Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism,  and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia.  Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan.    Biography  You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji (https://twitter.com/SheilaMusaji )

Islamophobes Spencer and Greenfield Push Fabricated Mohammad Al-Arifi Fatwa Story

Mohammad Al-Arifi

Mohammad Al-Arifi

I want to hat tip Rookie who first alerted us to the story about a fabricated fatwa that allegedly gave Syrian rebels permission to engage in “intercourse marriage/gang rape,” the fabricated fatwa was attributed to a Saudi preacher by the name of Mohammad Al-Arifi.

Robert Spencer was pushing the false story on his JihadWatch and made a grudging update to the story quite some time after it was revealed to be fabricated in which he couldn’t help but take a dig at Shi’a Muslims.

Daniel Greenfield, premiere Genocide-inciter at David Horowitz’s FrontPageRag also published an article on the fabricated fatwa that attempts to paint it as real. Greenfield’s article has no update and in fact was headed with an incendiary picture from an older hoax being pushed by Islamophobes regarding a supposed “mass pedophilia wedding” in Gaza in 2009.

Greenfield titled this picture: “Hamas Muslim Child Brides“:

Hamas-Muslim-Child-Brides

I debunked this absurd hoax back in August of 2009 in the article, Anti-Muslim Blogosphere Runs Amuck: Forced to Eat Crow. Clearly, Greenfield wasn’t phased and continues to push this lie despite it being debunked  over three years ago.

AlterNet, which it self was fooled but had the decency to apologize for its mistake has the full story on the fabricated fatwa:

Exhibit A in How an Islamophobic Meme Can Spread Like Wildfire Across the Internet

January 2, 2013  |  Editor’s note: On January 2, AlterNet was one of several outlets that published what turned out to be an article based on a false report. We would like to apologize to our readers for the error.

On January 2nd, the story of a Saudi Sheikh issuing a fatwa that condoned ‘intercourse marriage’ or gang rape in Syria exploded over the internet.

According to various sources, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Arifi had stated that foreign fighters in Syria had the right to engage in short term marriages to satisfy their sexual desires and boost their determination to fight against the Assad regime. Syrian girls and women from age 14 upwards were considered fair game and apparently secured their own place in heaven if they participated in these ‘intercourse marriages’.

By the evening a simple Google search of the words, ‘Saudi Sheikh’ , Syrian, and ‘women’ brought up some 5 million references and at least 3 pages of links to articles spreading the news. Not surprisingly there was immediate online uproar too, though as one commentator put it, much of the discussion was about whether these arranged temporary marriages technically constituted ‘rape’. This in itself is worrying.

There was also skepticism from many quarters about the veracity of the report, particularly among savvy Mideast experts.  Rightly so. The story, much like the one a few months ago about Egyptian Islamist MPs proposing laws that permitted sex with a deceased spouse up to 6 hours after his/her death, turned out to be a gross lie.  Sheikh Al-Arifi has issued a denial via his Facebook page. Over the next few days, the various websites and media outlets that spread the story will no doubt issue their retractions. But the story also raises many questions.  For starters, where did it come from? AlterNet inadvertently picked it up from the overtly anti-Islamic Clarion Fund site. Others pointed to the Iranian regime backed Press TV as the primary source on December 31 2012.  But the earliest English language reporting comes on December 29 from an obscure YouTube news site called Eretz Zen, tagged as a YouTube channel by a “secular Syrian opposed to having [his] country turned into a Taliban-like state.”

What’s extraordinary and depressing is that a slew of websites picked up the story and ran with it, some claiming legitimacy because the other had posted it and clearly no one bothered to do some basic fact checking. Arguably this is just the nature of the net and minute by minute news updates. The story was too sensational to give up. But one would imagine that if a similar story emerged about a Christian cleric or a Rabbi, someone, somewhere would have paused before posting it. Sadly, in the case of stories about Muslim clerics or Islamists the same red flags don’t seem to apply.

Perhaps western journalists are so ignorant of Islam and the cultures in the Middle East that they are willing to believe anything. It’s nothing new — after all Western notions of the East were always immured in sexual decadence and the allure of harems. That was a trademark of the patronizing Orientalism of the past. Today we have a phobic version of Orientalism — expecting and only seeing and reporting the bad and the ugly.

Read the rest…

Islamophobes Re-Title and Re-Package the Beheading of a Shia in Syria as Slaughter of Christian Convert in Tunisia

by Garibaldi

The deception and depths of depravity and lying to which Islamophobes will devolve into knows no bounds. We have covered this specific well-worn Islamophobic pattern of lies and mischaracterizations numerous times; the Gaza Mass Pedophilia Wedding lie, the Nigerian Muslims burn hundreds of Christians lie, the John Hopkins Muslim Doctor Supports FGM lie, the Muslim Brotherhood Crucify Opponents lie and we can go on and on. In fact, at some point I want to collect all these stories and index them for easier Loonwatcher use.

In another such lie, in June, Islamophobes started spreading a video titled: “Graphic video: Muslims slaughter Christian convert in moderate Tunisia”. I won’t post the video itself, as it is too gruesome, but the link is provided for whoever wishes to see it for themselves. This title when searched on Google produces 7,000 results. When one searches “beheading+Christian+Tunisia” or similar search terms one comes across more than 300,000 results.

The Anatomy of a Lie

The video of the beheading actually surfaced in May, not June, and was titled “‘Free Syrian Army’ Behead a Civilian.” For anyone who has knowledge of the region, the video is definitely not from Tunisia. As the original YouTube user who uploaded the video, TimeToFightBack1 wrote in an update to the video, “the dialect, the terrain and the clothing are all suggestive of Syria.” The murderers refer to their victim as “Rafidi” a demeaning term used exclusively to refer to Shias, and in the mouths of AlQaeda and their affiliate extremists is also usually accompanied by proclamations of  being “renegades” and “apostates,” all the more to cheapen the life of their victims and to justify the spilling of their blood. (h/t: MAbdullah)

The perpetrators of this beheading were likely one of the AlQaeda linked or influenced groups who have infiltrated the Free Syrian Army or claim to be part of the Free Syrian Army (a very underreported and undocumented phenomenon in Western media).

The video failed to go viral in its original manifestation, perhaps because it doesn’t jibe with the prevailing narrative of a united, just, and Free Syrian Army fighting for democracy, rule of law and to overthrow the despotic Bashar al-Assad.

In early June, Egyptian T.V. (Masr al-Youm, “Egypt Today”) personality Tawfiq Okasha played part of the beheading video on his TV show. Okasha is well known for his over-the-top animosity and virulent disdain for Islamists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. He described the beheading as happening in Tunisia, nowhere did he identify how he came to this conclusion, but in light of his political agenda it is clear why he would forward such a narrative.

Understanding the political context in Egypt gives us some clues. Okasha was using the video, in the lead up to the second round of Egyptian presidential elections to forward a fear-mongering premise to his Egyptian viewers, essentially telling them: look at what is happening in Tunisia as a result of the Islamist party of Rachid Al-Ghannouchi, ‘Al-Nahda’ having won elections, radicals are killing civilians and minorities. If the Muslim Brotherhood wins the upcoming presidential election you can expect the same thing in Egypt.” A few weeks after this aired, on June 24 Mohammed Morsi was declared president. Okasha recently announced the formation of a new political party, Egyptian National People’s Party, presenting himself as Egypt’s “champion against a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Raymond Ibrahim (the same individual who forwarded the Muslim Brotherhood Crucify Opponents hoax), a Coptic-American and long time writer on JihadWatch got a hold of the video, and the rest is history. The video that originally was posted in May as “Free Syrian Army Beheads a Civilian” had completely transformed into a viral news story in the looniverse, “Graphic Video: Muslims Behead Christian Convert in ‘Moderate’ Tunisia.”

One can easily discern the motive for such deception on the part of Islamophobes. The manipulated story validates, in one fell swoop, their prejudices against Islam, Muslims and the “Arab Spring,” while at the same time affirming for their audience the narratives of persecution of minorities (specifically Christians), the supposed “unique” violent nature of Islam, and most importantly the idea that changes being brought about by the Arab uprisings will not herald freedom, democracy, dignity, and rights (the slogans of Arab revolutionaries), but “radical Islam” a la the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Conclusion

On its own the video is a potent reminder of violent fundamentalist extremism. The re-packaging and re-titling of the video is not only a detriment to factual news reporting and information gatherers, it is an insult to the memory of the poor Shia’ man who was murdered by these extremists.

The damage from this story has already been done, the looniverse has consumed it, reinforcing their own prejudices. It is hoped this article will go some way in dispelling the false re-packaging and re-titling of the video–and may the unnamed, murdered man rest in peace.