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January 28, 2014 4

Al Jazeera Poll Goes “The Opposite Direction” On The Holocaust

Al Jazeera Holocaust poll

A screen­shot of the poll on Al Jazeera’s website

Update – Jan­u­ary 31, 2014: Accord­ing to the results pro­vided on Al Jazeera’s web­site, 95.4% of those par­tic­i­pat­ing in the poll agreed that Bashar Al-Assad crimes in Syria are worse than Hitler’s crimes. 46,641 par­tic­i­pants voted.

The pan-Arab satel­lite tele­vi­sion net­work Al Jazeera is con­duct­ing a poll ask­ing its view­ers to vote on whether they believe Syr­ian pres­i­dent Bashar Al-Assad’s “crimes” are worse than Hitler’s “Nazi crimes.”

The poll, posted on Al Jazeera’s web­site on Jan­u­ary 24, runs through Jan­u­ary 30, when the results will be broad­cast on one of Al Jazeera’s most pop­u­lar live shows, El-Itidjah el-Mouakass [The Oppo­site Direc­tion]. The show often fea­tures debates between guests about top­ics raised in its polls.

While the ongo­ing con­flict in Syria has been one of the most heated issues dis­cussed on the show in recent months, Al Jazeera’s poll ques­tion reflects the degree to which the Holo­caust is mis­un­der­stood and mis­rep­re­sented in the Arab world.

The premise of the poll is inap­pro­pri­ate because it com­pares the death of more than six mil­lion Jews who were not part of any armed con­flict and were anni­hi­lated for no rea­son other than their faith and cul­ture to the human­i­tar­ian cri­sis and vio­lence in Syria.

The show’s host, Dr. Faisal Al-Qassem, posted a link to the poll on his per­sonal Face­book page to encour­age his more than three mil­lion fol­low­ers to par­tic­i­pate in the poll.

Iron­i­cally, most of the com­ments on Al-Qassem’s Face­book page express out­rage against the premise, but for all the wrong rea­sons. “Unlike Bashar, Hitler killed the Jews and not his own peo­ple,” one com­ment reads, sug­gest­ing that Hitler’s crimes are some­how more justified.

Sim­i­larly, other com­ments state that there is no way to com­pare the two at all because, unlike Bashar, “Hitler was defend­ing his people.”

These com­ments and oth­ers demon­strate how the lessons of the Holo­caust are woe­fully mis­un­der­stood, or worse, are grotesquely dis­torted in the Arab World. The poll ques­tion adds to this prob­lem and to the triv­i­al­iza­tion of the Holo­caust, which con­tin­ues to go unex­am­ined in main­stream Arab media.

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November 22, 2013 0

New Al Qaeda Video Underscores Threat of Americans Joining Terror Groups In Syria

abu-dujana-amriki-syria

Man iden­ti­fied as Abu Dujana al-Amriki in ISIS video

An Eng­lish lan­guage video glo­ri­fy­ing Islamist rebel groups in Syria and appar­ently fea­tur­ing an Amer­i­can was released ear­lier this month by The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an Al Qaeda affil­i­ate fight­ing in Syria.

The video is part of a new wave of Eng­lish lan­guage recruit­ment mate­ri­als by Islamist rebels in Syria and comes at a time of increased con­cern about Amer­i­cans and other West­ern­ers trav­el­ling to Syria to fight.

The video fea­tures an appar­ently Amer­i­can man with the nom de guerre Abu Dujana al-Amriki. Hold­ing a rifle, he addresses his mes­sage “to the peo­ple of the West…from the mujahideen (reli­gious fight­ers) in Syria.” Encour­ag­ing oth­ers to join, he says that “We’ve come here from all nation­al­i­ties to defend this land…to spread the Shariah (reli­gious law) of Allah on the face of the earth, and to give our lives and our souls for this jihad and to Jan­nah (Paradise).”

The video also adds strength to con­cerns that for­eign fight­ers based in Syria may even­tu­ally return to pose a threat to their home coun­tries. In the sec­ond part of his speech, al-Amriki states that, “With these sim­ple weapons we will free these lands, and free these peo­ple, and we’ll bring the right of Islam to rule all of the entire world, over Europe and Amer­ica, over Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa,” adding, “And with these weapons we’ll kill the infidels.”

The video comes amidst reports of “dozens” of Amer­i­cans trav­el­ling to Syria and, if true, would indi­cate that al-Amriki is the 7th named Amer­i­can to have trav­elled or attempted to travel to Syria this year. Both his pres­ence and his remarks under­score the threat of Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents trav­el­ling to Syria and else­where to join ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions includ­ing Jab­hat al-Nusra, Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula, and Al Shabaab.

The video con­cludes with the image of a dead fighter, whom it claims is al-Amriki.

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November 21, 2013 0

Continued Concerns Over Wave Of Americans Fighting In Syria

eric-harroun-jabhat-al-nusrah-syria

Eric Har­roun was indicted on charges of con­spir­acy to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port to a for­eign ter­ror­ist organization.

Update — 11/22/13: An Eng­lish lan­guage video glo­ri­fy­ing Islamist rebel groups in Syria and appar­ently fea­tur­ing an Amer­i­can was released ear­lier this month by The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an Al Qaeda affil­i­ate fight­ing in Syria.

Senior U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials on Wednes­day said that “dozens” of Amer­i­cans have trav­eled or attempted to travel to Syria to fight against the Assad regime.

ADL released a report in June high­light­ing the increas­ing num­bers of Amer­i­can cit­i­zens drawn to the con­flict in Syria and join­ing ter­ror­ist groups. As noted in the report, since 2007, over 50 Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents have been charged in con­nec­tion with attempts to join ter­ror­ist groups abroad, includ­ing Al Shabaab in Soma­lia and Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula in Yemen, as well as Jab­hat al-Nusra in Syria.

Details of six cases in which Amer­i­cans joined or attempted to join the con­flict in Syria have been made pub­lic in 2013. Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen of Cal­i­for­nia, Amir Farouk Ibrahim of Penn­syl­va­nia, and Nicole Mans­field of Michi­gan all suc­cess­fully joined the con­flict. Abdella Ahmad Tounisi of Illi­nois and Basit Javed Sheikh of North Car­olina attempted to join but were arrested en route. In addi­tion, Eric Har­roun of Ari­zona pleaded guilty to non-terror-related charges in Sep­tem­ber, 2013, and was sen­tenced to time served. That Har­roun fought in Syria is uncon­tested; how­ever, reports dif­fer as to whether he fought with Jab­hat al Nusra.

The  num­ber of Amer­i­cans attempt­ing to travel abroad to train and fight with ter­ror­ist groups con­tin­ues to raise seri­ous con­cerns about extrem­ists using their Amer­i­can pass­ports to return to the U.S. in order to carry out attacks on U.S. soil.

Syr­ian rebel groups, includ­ing the Al Qaeda affil­i­ate Jab­hat al-Nusra, have cre­ated social media space and propa­ganda to raise aware­ness, sup­port and poten­tial recruits for their cause in the Eng­lish-speak­ing world. These include the exploita­tion of Face­book, blogs, Twit­ter and other platforms.

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