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June 18, 2014

Social Media Campaigns Glorify Kidnapping of the Three Israeli Teens

Alongside the outpouring of concern on social media for the safe return of the three Israeli teens kidnapped last Thursday, including a twitter campaign with the slogan #bringbackourboys, exists a cynical, hateful and dangerous campaign praising the kidnapping.

The pro-kidnapping messages, being promoted by some Palestinians and others across the Arab and Muslim world, are conveyed through pictures, cartoons, blog posts, memes and even songs.

The most prominent is the “Three Fingers” campaign, representing the three kidnapped youths. This is a variation on the four-finger salute adopted by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in their fight against current President and former general Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi, and in support of ousted president Muhammad Morsi. Social media images depict adults and children performing a three-finger salute in solidarity with the kidnappers. In some photos, objects, such as three bananas, are used as props to recreate the salute, and similar themes have also appeared in cartoons in Arabic-language newspapers.

The other element to the pro-kidnapping campaign is the invocation of former Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive by Hamas for five years and released in 2011 in exchange for Israel freeing 1027 Palestinian terrorists. A Facebook page titled “Three Shalits” calls on the public to share pictures of themselves holding up three fingers in support of a similar exchange of the kidnapped Israeli teens for additional Palestinians in Israeli jails. Some of the captions suggest that each kidnapped boy should be released in exchange for 1027 Palestinians, bringing the total number to 3081.

The pro-kidnapping social media campaign also includes a song praising the kidnappers called “A Handful of Shalits.” The singer says “We’ve got you all, Shalits,” which is followed up by a call to Palestinians in Israeli prisons that their release is near.

A different, and no less disturbing campaign, also exists on the other extreme in the form of a Hebrew Facebook page calling for “the execution of one terrorist every hour until the teens are released.” The page has already garnered almost 20,000 likes, and contains selective Biblical quotations and other statements to support violent reprisals to the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens.

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May 15, 2014

Conference In Qatar Features Anti-Semitism and Pro-Terror Messages

The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) held a conference earlier this week in the Qatari capital of Doha called “Al-Quds [Jerusalem] and Al-Aqsa: Between Conspiracy and Confrontation.” The daylong conference, which took place on Sunday, May 11, featured speeches by the director of Hamas’s foreign relations department, Osama Hamdan, who is based in Lebanon, and by radical cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi.qatar 2014 conference Al Aqsa

In his speech, Qaradawi reiterated his past anti-Semitic remarks glorifying the killing of Jews as part of the Islamic tradition.

According to the IUMS website: “He [Qaradawi] delivered the good news of Muslims’ victory over Jews with evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah including the saying of the Prophet, peace be upon him, ‘The last hour would not come unless you fight the Jews and the stone, with a Jew behind it, would say: oh Muslim, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.’”

Qaradawi also reiterated his opposition to Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the former general who is poised to be elected as Egypt’s next president following elections that will be held later this month. Qaradawi accused Al-Sisi – who led a coup against The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president last year – of being the choice of the Jews. According to IUMS’s website, Qaradawi also noted the “happiness of the Jews” with the Egyptian presidential candidate Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi. He stated, “the Jews consider him their Sisi and not our Sisi.”

For his part, Hamdan used the platform to promote the use of violence against Israel and deny Israel’s right to exist, saying “Time has come to encourage Arabs and Muslims to fight for the liberation of Palestine because rights can’t return without force.”

Hamdan also said, “It’s shameful to forget what was occupied in 1948, which is the majority of the land of Palestine,” and expressed hope that the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah would lead to a “reconsideration of the liberation project.”

IUMS is led by Qaradawi and is partially sponsored by the Qatari government. Qatar’s repeated provision of a platform for events marked by anti-Semitism and support for terrorism calls into question the country’s claims to be a moderate and reasonable voice in the region. The conference is also an example of the pervasive anti-Semitism that exists in the Middle East and North Africa.

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December 24, 2013

Muslim Brotherhood Rabaa TV Starts Broadcasting From Istanbul

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood launched a new television station on December 20, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey. The new station, Rabaa TV, will broadcast news about the Muslim world in Arabic and claims it will be a “platform for freedom.”

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Rabaa TV logo

To kick off the network, Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the radical Muslim Brotherhood ideologue and outspoken supporter of terrorist groups, made an appearance on the station’s inaugural broadcast. Qaradawi, has been vocally opposed to the military takeover of Egypt in July, calling the incident a “coup that raped the office of the Egyptian president.”   

The network’s name, Rabaa, refers to the name of the Cairo mosque where pro-Brotherhood demonstrators were faced with violence by security forces after weeks of protests. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who welcomed the Brotherhood’s ascension to power following the 2011 revolution, has been outspoken in his support for former Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi.

The coming days will tell if the channel will embrace previous anti-Semitic narratives featured in other Muslim Brotherhood media outlets.

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