Archive for the ‘Qatari media’ category

The Former Anchor Who Says Al-Jazeera Aids Terrorists

June 23, 2017

The Former Anchor Who Says Al-Jazeera Aids Terrorists, Bloomberg, Eli Lake, June 23, 2017

(Please see also Qatar’s neighbors issue steep list of demands to end crisis. — DM)

Mohamed Fahmy in the defendants’ cage during his trial in Egypt. Photographer: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

“The more the network coordinates and takes directions from the government, the more it becomes a mouthpiece for Qatari intelligence,” he told me in an interview Thursday. “There are many channels who are biased, but this is past bias. Now al-Jazeera is a voice for terrorists.” 

Fahmy’s testimony is particularly important now. Al-Jazeera is at the center of a crisis ripping apart the Arab Gulf states. Earlier this month Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain imposed a political and diplomatic blockade on Qatar. As part of that blockade, al-Jazeera has been kicked out of those countries.

Fahmy’s case is one more piece of evidence that the al-Jazeera seen by English-speaking audiences is not the al-Jazeera seen throughout the Muslim world. It’s one more piece of evidence that Qatar’s foreign policy is a double game: It hosts a military base the U.S. uses to fight terror, while funding a media platform for extremists.

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Mohamed Fahmy is the last person one would expect to make the case against al-Jazeera.

In 2014, the former Cairo bureau chief for the Qatar-funded television network began a 438-day sentence in an Egyptian prison on terrorism charges and practicing unlicensed journalism. His incarceration made al-Jazeera a powerful symbol of resistance to Egypt’s military dictatorship.

Today Fahmy is preparing a lawsuit against his former employers. And while he is still highly critical of the regime that imprisoned him, he also says the Egyptian government is correct when it says al-Jazeera is really a propaganda channel for Islamists and an arm of Qatari foreign policy.

“The more the network coordinates and takes directions from the government, the more it becomes a mouthpiece for Qatari intelligence,” he told me in an interview Thursday. “There are many channels who are biased, but this is past bias. Now al-Jazeera is a voice for terrorists.”

Fahmy’s testimony is particularly important now. Al-Jazeera is at the center of a crisis ripping apart the Arab Gulf states. Earlier this month Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain imposed a political and diplomatic blockade on Qatar. As part of that blockade, al-Jazeera has been kicked out of those countries.

The treatment of al-Jazeera as an arm of the Qatari state as opposed to a news organization does not sit well with many in the West. This week a New York Times editorial accused Qatar’s foes of “muzzling” a news outlet “that could lead citizens to question their rulers” in the Arab world.

In some ways it’s understandable for English-speaking audiences to take this view. Al-Jazeera’s English-language broadcasts certainly veer politically to the left. At times the channel has sucked up to police states. The channel embarrassed itself with such fluff as a recent sycophantic feature on female traffic cops in North Korea. But al-Jazeera English has also broken some important stories. It worked with Human Rights Watch to uncover documents mapping out the links between Libyan intelligence under Muammar Qaddafi and the British and U.S. governments.

Al-Jazeera’s Arabic broadcasts however have not met these same standards in recent years. To start, the network still airs a weekly talk show from Muslim Brotherhood theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi. He has used his platform to argue that Islamic law justifies terrorist attacks against Israelis and U.S. soldiers. U.S. military leaders, such as retired Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded forces in the initial campaign to stabilize Iraq, have said publicly that al-Jazeera reporters appeared to have advance knowledge of terrorist attacks. Fahmy told me that in his research he has learned that instructions were given to journalists not to refer to al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra, as a terrorist organization.

He said Qatar’s neighbors were justified in banning al-Jazeera. “Al-Jazeera has breached the true meaning of press freedom that I advocate and respect by sponsoring these voices of terror like Yusuf al Qaradawi,” he said. “If al-Jazeera continues to do that, they are directly responsible for many of these lone wolves, many of these youth that are brain washed.”

Fahmy didn’t always have this opinion of his former employer. He began to change his views while serving time. It started in the “scorpion block” of Egypt’s notorious Tora prison. During his stay, he came to know some of Egypt’s most notorious Islamists.

“When I started meeting and interviewing members of the Muslim Brotherhood and their sympathizers, they specifically told me they had been filming protests and selling it to al-Jazeera and dealing fluidly with the network and production companies in Egypt associated with the network,” he said.

One example of al-Jazeera’s coordination with the Muslim Brotherhood revolves around Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in the summer of 2013, following the military coup that unseated Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president. As part of Fahmy’s case against al-Jazeera, he took testimony from a former security guard for the network and the head of the board of trustees for Egyptian state television. Both testified that members of the Muslim Brotherhood seized the broadcast truck al-Jazeera used to air the sit-ins that summer. In other words, al-Jazeera allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to broadcast its own protests.

That incident happened in the weeks before Fahmy was hired to be the network’s Cairo bureau chief. He says he was unaware of these ties to the Muslim Brotherhood until he began doing his own research and reporting from an Egyptian prison.

When Fahmy learned of these arrangements, he became angry. It undermined his case before the Egyptian courts that he was unaffiliated with any political party or terrorist groups inside Egypt. “To me this is a big deal, this is not acceptable,” he said. “It put me in danger because it’s up to me to convince the judge that I was just doing journalism.”

Ultimately Fahmy was released from prison in 2015. But this was not because al-Jazeera’s lawyers made a good case for him. Rather it was the work of human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who eventually got him safely out of the country to Canada.

Now Fahmy is turning his attention to al-Jazeera. He is pressing a court in British Columbia to hear his case in January against the network, from whom he is seeking $100 million in damages for breach of contract, misrepresentation and negligence.

Fahmy’s case is one more piece of evidence that the al-Jazeera seen by English-speaking audiences is not the al-Jazeera seen throughout the Muslim world. It’s one more piece of evidence that Qatar’s foreign policy is a double game: It hosts a military base the U.S. uses to fight terror, while funding a media platform for extremists.

Qatar – the end of the road?

June 9, 2017

Qatar – the end of the road? Israel National News, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, June 9, 2017

(Please see also, Qatar, Trump and Double Games. — DM)

The Emirate of Qatar is a peninsula that juts out from Saudi Arabia into the Persian Gulf. The only overland route out of Qatar is by way of Saudi Arabia and if that route is blocked, the only way to reach Qatar or leave it is by air or sea. However, flights to and from Qatar pass over Saudi air space part of the time and ships from or to Qatar have to pass through Saudi territorial waters. This means that Saudi Arabia can in effect declare a total blockade on Qatar if it so desires. It has never done so before, but it began the process on June 5th.

In addition to a blockade, the Saudis, joined by the United Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, the Philippines and the Maldives, cut off diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar.  Egypt, Libya and the Emirates declared that they would ban Qatari plans and ships from their air space and territorial waters. In 2014, these countries took much milder steps in order to punish Qatar, cancelling them once Qatar agreed to accept the dictates of the Umma and signed the Riyadh agreement along with the rest of the Arab nations.

The reasons provided by the countries involved for the unprecedented severity of the current steps against Qatar included: “Qatar aids the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS and Jebhat al-Nusrah” and “The Emir of  Qatar has declared that Iran is a good nation” as well as “Qatar destabilizes our regime,” as well  as ” Qatar provides hiding places and shelter to Muslim Brotherhood leaders who fled there from Egypt,” and “Qatar is giving aid to  the Houthi rebels (read Shiites) in Yemen.”

Another and most subtle reason, whose source is a Kuwaiti commentator, appears on al Jazeera‘s site: “Qatar refused to meet Trump’s financial demands.” This odd remark relates to a rumor on Facebook and other social network sites claiming that before Trump agreed to come to the Riyadh Arab League Conference, he demanded the Gulf Emirates purchase US arms in the legendary sum of one and a half trillion dollars, to be divided among Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Emirates. The three agreed, but Qatar pulled out at the last minute, causing the Emirates to follow suit, and leaving the Saudis holding the bill demanded by Trump.   The falling through of this deal, the largest in history, may have been the reason for Trump’s noticeably grim face in Riyadh.

Claiming that Qatar causes the destabilization of regimes is a veiled hint referring to al Jazeera which broadcasts from Qatar. Every since it began broadcasting in 1996 from the capital city of Qatar, Doha, al Jazeera has infuriated Arab rulers because it constantly carries out a media Jihad against them also aimed at others such as  Israel, the US, the West and Western culture. The channel also promotes and supports the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots such as Hamas, al Qaeda and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel headed by Sheikh Raad Salah. Al Jazeera‘s media strategy is determined by Qatar’s Emir and is carried out down to the last detail by its very professional leading broadcaster and editorial policy setter, Jamal Rian, a Palestinian born in Tul Karem in 1953, who moved to Jordan where he was active in the Muslim Brotherhood until expelled by King Hussein.

Every so often other Arab regimes, chief among them Egypt under Mubarak, attempted to close down al Jazeera‘s offices in their countries after overly harsh criticism was aimed at the ruling government, only to reopen them when al Jazeera simply stepped up its attacks

The general feeling is that any government official – or anyone at all – who opposes a ruling regime (and there is no shortage of these people in any Arab country) leaks embarrassing information to  al Jazeera all the time, so that the channel is always poised to expose the information when the time is ripe and especially if the now-cornered victim has been unfriendly to it and to Islamists. The thought of this happening is enough to paralyze every Arab leader who would like to clamp down on al Jazeera in his country.

Every time a conflict erupts between Israel and Hamas, al Jazeera comes out in favor of the terrorist organization because of Qatar’s support of it. Hamas leader Haled Mashaal, makes his home in Qatar and the Qatari Emir is the only Arab leader so far to visit Hamas-ruled Gaza. The Emir has give billions to Hamas, enabling the organization to develop its  terror infrastructure.

Qatar has budgeted half a billion dollars to “buy” organizations such as UNESCO (whose next head will, unsurprisingly, be from Qatar), as well as media, academic and government figures to advance the goal of removing Jerusalem from Israeli hands. Al Jazeera runs a well publicized and organized campaign in order to ensure this outcome. This is the face of media jihad.

Saudi Arabia has never allowed al Jazeera‘s reporters to work from within the country, but does allow them to cover special events once in a while, mainly the Hajj. The Saudis know exactly what the Emir had up his sleeve when he founded a media network that would rule over Arab monarchs by means of recording their slip-ups, taking advantage of the Arab obsession with avoiding public humiliation by broadcasting from a satellite that can reach every house in the Arab world with no way of blocking it.

The last reports are that the Saudis blocked access to the al Jazeera internet site from their territory.  It is harder to block al Jazeera‘s satellite channel reception legally and it can still be accessed throughout the monarchy. Arab media attribute the blockage to declarations supportive of Hamas and Hezbollah made by the Emir of Qatar after Trump’s speech in Riyadh in which the US president included Hamas and Hezbollah in his list of terror organization, equating them with al Qaeda and ISIS.

Sorry, but I do not buy that story. Declarations about third parties (Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah) are ordinarily not the reason a public dispute erupts between Iranian monarchs. In my opinion, the reason for blocking the al Jazeera site in Saudi Arabia is a photograph posted on the al Jazeera site while Trump was in Riyadh.

This photo shows King Suleiman of Saudi Arabia awarding the Gold Decoration, the highest honor of the Saudi monarchy, to Donald Trump, but that is not the reason it was posted on al Jazeera. The reason has to do with the woman appearing in it and standing between Suleiman and Trump. I do not know what her name is, but she accompanied Trump during his entire stay in Riyadh standing just behind him and carrying a briefcase. Perhaps she is an interpreter. She is carrying a briefcase filled with important documents that have to be with Trump all the time in one picture as he, of course, would not be seen carrying a briefcase and standing be[hind her].

What is interesting about this woman is that she spent the entire time in the royal palace with her hair uncovered, like Melania Trump, the First Lady, did, even though women with uncovered hair are not to be seen in Saudi Arabia. In the palace, women are also not allowed to b e seen in the company of men. Al Jazeera posted this photo intentionally, in order to embarrass the king who granted Trump an award even though he was accompanied by women who, like those in the picture, who do not cover their hair. That photo of the king was the last straw and the Saudis blocked al Jazeera.

Qatar is now under great pressure. The nations that broke off relations with Qatar have stopped recognizing the Qatari Rial as a viable currency and have confiscated all the Qatari Rials in their banks. As a result, Qatar cannot purchase goods with its own currency and must use its foreign currency reserves. The supermarket shelves in Qatar have been emptied by residents hoarding food for fear that the blockade will not allow food to be imported. Long lines of cars can be seen trying to leave for Saudi Arabia to escape being shut up in the besieged, wayward country.

Qatar is trying to get the US to help improve the situation. The largest American air force base in the Gulf is located in  Qatar and it is from there that the attacks on ISIS are generated. Qatar also hosts the US Navy Fifth Fleet as well as the Central Command and Control of US forces in that part of the world. Qatari media stress the US concern about the siege that the Saudis have put on Qatar.

As part of its efforts to enlist US aid, Qatar has begun a counterattack: Qatar media have publicized that the U.A.E. ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba , said on US election eve: “What star could make Donald Trump the president?” This is intended to cause a rift between the US and the Gulf Emirates, but will certainly not improve Qatar’s own relations with the Emirates.

Meanwhile, the Saudis and the Emirates have ejected Qatar from the coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen, and there are rumors that they will also remove Qatar from the Council for Cooperation in the Gulf. The Saudis could suspend Qatar’s membership in the Arab League and other organizations if this dispute continues, raising the pressure on the Emir’s al-Thani clan.

The next few days will decide Qatar’s future. There  is a distinct possibility that the foreign ministers of Qatar and the Arab nations taking part in the boycott against it will meet in some neutral spot, perhaps Kuwait, Qatar will give in and new rules will be set by Arab leaders, that is by King Suleiman, to keep Qatar in line. They would include: toning down al Jazeera and perhaps even switching its managerial staff, ending the support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations, ending cooperation with Iran and above all, listening to what the Saudi “Big Brother” says about issues, especially those having to do with financial dealings with the US. Once the conditions for Qatari surrender are agreed upon, we can expect the ministers to meet the press, publicize a declaration on the end of the intra-family dispute, shake hands before the cameras and smile – until the next crisis.

There is, however, another scenario: Qatar does not give in, the Saudis and its allies invade, their armies eject the Emir and Mufti of Qatar, and also Jamal Rian, the guiding brain behind Al Jazeera’s  policies. They would then appoint a new Emir from the ruling family, one who knows how to behave, one who listens to the Saudis.  No one except for Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas would oppose this solution, and the soft-spoken condemnations will not succeed in hiding the world’s joy and sighs of relief if the Saudis actually carry out that plan.

Sweden: A Qatari Protectorate

May 17, 2017

Sweden: A Qatari Protectorate, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, May 17, 2017

In the former democracy of Sweden, politicians are no longer answerable to the citizens, and can apparently cover up whatever topics they choose, no matter how detrimental to the people who elected them. The mainstream media willingly collude with the authorities by uniformly ignoring the issue.

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At the opening of the mega-mosque, Malmö City Councilor Frida Trollmyr gave a speech in which she continued to use the term “cultural center”, never using the word “mosque”, as if — Soviet-style — the use of certain words could alter reality.

The mega-mosque was never supposed to be a mosque, according to the Wakf’s own application for building permits, but merely a “cultural center” (the application talks about “an activity center for youth and families in Malmö with a focus on Rosengård”).

When the journalist asked Khaled Assi whether his organization was in fact building a mosque, he told her that “there already is a mosque in Malmö” and that the “cultural center” would just contain a “small prayer room”.

On April 28, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs of the State of Qatar opened the Umm Al-Mu’minin Khadijah Mosque in Malmö, Sweden. Qatar — the epicenter of Muslim Brotherhood and the base of its proselytizing megaphone, Al Jazeera — paid more than 3 million euros to build the mosque, which is almost 2,000 square meters and accommodates up to 2,000 people, making it the largest mosque in Scandinavia.

One astonishing fact about this new mega-mosque is that, according to Swedish mainstream media, the opening never happened. Not a single Swedish news outlet mentioned the opening. Swedish authorities were also completely silent on the topic. On her Facebook and Twitter accounts, Malmö’s Mayor, Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, wrote about the opening of a new office for army recruits in Malmö and the Swedish coast guard moving its activities to Malmö harbor, but failed to mention the opening of the largest mosque in Scandinavia. The website of Malmö municipality was also silent on the topic.

For information on what goes on in Sweden, therefore, one has to turn to Qatar News Agency, which reported:

“Director of the Islamic Affairs Department at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Khalid Shaheen Al Ghanim said that the mosque was built and furnished by the State of Qatar at a cost of over 3 million euros, under the supervision of the Ministry of Awqaf and in collaboration with the Wakf of Scandinavia in Malmo, Sweden

“He added that the Umm Al-Mu’minin Khadijah Mosque is the largest mosque in Scandinavia and is located on the first and second floors of the four-story building of the Wakf of Scandinavia in Sweden. The mosque is equipped with facilities for people with special needs to perform prayers and others for children and women.

“The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of Swedish local authorities, representatives of Islamic institutions in Sweden and Denmark, as well as a number of businessmen.”

The organization in Sweden behind the mega-mosque is the Swedish Wakf, better known as the Islamic Community of Malmö. In its statutes, the Swedish Wakf describes itself as a “religious and cultural community, registered as an ideal institution”, and “politically independent”.

The neighbors of the mega-mosque, which was never supposed to be a mosque, according to the Wakf’s own application for building permits, but merely a “cultural center” (the application talks about “an activity center for youth and families in Malmö with a focus on Rosengård”), protested when they learned of the plans in 2010. The Malmö municipality brushed them off. “It is like any congregational activity, and I find it hard to see that there should be anything to worry about”, said Dick Johansson, representing Malmö municipality, at the time.

As it turns out, there is a great deal to worry about.

Several of the Swedish Wakf’s members come from the Swedish Islamic Cultural Association, whose spokesman and front figure, Ammar Daoud, was described by Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan in an article from 2006, as the “apprentice” of the Danish imam Abu Laban. Laban, who died in 2007, was known for his jihadist connections and for instigating riots in the Muslim world against Denmark after the 2005 publication of the Mohammed cartoons in Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten. He led his own Danish Wakf — Danish Islamic community — in Copenhagen.

Laban declared Sayid Qutb, the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief ideologue, to be his role model, and was a frequent guest preacher at one of the basement mosques of the Swedish Cultural Association in Rosengård (a crime-ridden, infamous no-go zone in Malmö).

Already in 2006, Abu Laban told the daily Sydsvenskan that he wanted to “help” his Swedish Muslim friends establish a new mosque. Abu Laban and Ammar Daoud were unhappy with the existing mosque in Malmö, Islamic Center Mosque, which Abu Laban derisively labelled “Islam-light”.

In 2010, Khaled Assi, head of the Swedish Wakf (a position he still holds today), told a Swedish journalist that he was “inspired” by Abu Laban and his Wakf in Denmark. When the journalist asked Khaled Assi whether his organization was in fact building a mosque, he told her that “there already is a mosque in Malmö” and that the “cultural center” would just contain a “small prayer room”. Asked about the financing of the project, Assi said that the Wakf was “unassociated with any organization” and that all financial contributors were “individuals from Malmö and Skåne”, although they would also approach “individuals” abroad.

At the opening of the mega-mosque of the Wakf on April 28, Malmö City Councilor Frida Trollmyr gave a speech in which she continued to use the term “cultural center”, never using the word “mosque”, as if — Soviet style — the use of certain words could alter reality:

“In many ways, this cultural center is unique but at the same time it is one of many meeting places that has contributed to the diversity that has made Malmö into the city it is today. We Malmöites know what this diversity entails and all its strength — it is that which has made Malmö into the city it is today.”

Trollmyr’s speech will go down in history as the moment Malmö municipality finally submitted completely to Islam.

When the Swedish independent news site, Samtiden, tried to reach Trollmyr for comment on how the new gender-separated mosque corresponds to Swedish values about gender equality, about Trollmyr’s views on the financing of mega-mosques by foreign dictatorships, and what this entails for Malmö with regards to radicalization, Trollmyr’s secretary informed Samtiden that the politician did not have time to answer the questions.

In the former democracy of Sweden, politicians are no longer answerable to the citizens, and can apparently cover up whatever topics they choose, no matter how detrimental to the people who elected them. The mainstream media willingly collude with the authorities by uniformly ignoring the issue.

One would have thought, however, that at least one mainstream Swedish journalist would be interested in uncovering the cover-up of the Swedish authorities. Here are some of the many unanswered questions:

How did a project that the Malmö municipality approved as a “cultural center” end up as the largest mosque in Scandinavia?

How did an organization, the Swedish Wakf, which is supposed to be “politically independent”, and which said it was collecting its financing from local Muslims, end up having its mosque bought and paid for by Qatar, the primary exporter — along with Saudi Arabia — of Wahhabism in the world?

When did Sweden become a province of the dictatorship of Qatar, where the presence of Qatari government officials at the opening of a Qatari-funded mosque in a major Swedish city does not elicit the slightest media attention, let alone criticism, as if this kind of occurrence were the most routine order of the day? Instead, the only Swedish reaction is an embarrassingly sycophantic speech by a representative of the Malmö municipality.

In short, when did the Swedish population vote to become a Qatari protectorate?

Malmö, Sweden. (Image source: David Ramos/Getty Images)

Qatari Educational Software on Islamic Conquests in Europe

April 21, 2016

Qatari Educational Software on Islamic Conquests in Europe, MEMRI-TV via YouTube, April 21, 2016

The blurb following the video states,

Animated videos posted on the Internet teach children about Islamic conquests in Europe. The videos were produced as educational software for “Boys and Girls,” the children’s section of the Qatari government-owned Internet portal Islamweb.net. A large number of the portal’s educational videos were posted on various YouTube accounts. One video discusses the conquest of Al-Andalus, which was “in order to spread the light of Islam.” “This is how Islam entered Al-Andalus, where it built a great civilization,” an animated character says. Another video describes the conquest of Belgrade, “the fortified city that was the pride of Europe.” The videos were posted on the Internet in February 2016.