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Al Jazeera’s ‘encyclopedia’ labels extremists as ‘jihadis with a cause’

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With the escalation of terrorist activities and the number of young people being recruited to partake in attacks across the Arab world, security and media experts are increasingly warning against the dangers of media being used to incite extremism in the region by manipulating information they broadcast or in terms of reporting on organizations, personalities and actions.

Al Jazeera's media and security experts are at the top of such warning as they are accused of misrepresenting information under the pretext of freedom of expression and accuracy.

They warn that this is a part of a master plan, since it is not just about broadcasting inaccurate information through its television channel, but also through its other platforms, most notably of which is found under Al Jazeera Arabic’s “encyclopedia” section on their website.

The following are some of the striking examples.

Osama bin Laden: Jihadist

Osama bin Laden AP
Osama bin Laden AP

Al Jazeera encyclopedia identifies the founder of al-Qaeda terrorist organization Osama bin Laden as a “Saudi jihadist”. Although his page on the encyclopedia refers to his “involvement" in terrorist acts, the predominant picture that is depicted points to a person with a cause to defend which may earn some level of sympathy.

Ibrahim Arbaysh: Fighter

 إبراهيم الربيش
إبراهيم الربيش

The same applies to former Guantanamo detainee, terrorist and senior leader in al-Qaeda Ibrahim Arbaysh. Al-Qaeda announced his death in April 2015 but Al Jazeera's encyclopedia describes him simply as a “Saudi fighter”.

Al-Hassan Al-Muhajir: The Media Catapult

أبو الحسن المهاجر
أبو الحسن المهاجر

As for the person responsible for the ISIS’ terrorist propaganda, Al Jazeera’s encyclopedia describes him as “a Salafist Jihadist Media Official”, following the intellectual vision of al-Qaeda, which is based on the necessity of "jihadist retaliation" against the ruling regimes of the Islamic world and its "Western allies" in preparation for establishing the Islamic Caliphate State to implement the provisions of Islam.

Raqqa: The capital city of the Islamic state

ISIS militants hold up their weapons and wave its flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, in Raqqa, Syria. (Militant photo via AP)
ISIS militants hold up their weapons and wave its flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, in Raqqa, Syria. (Militant photo via AP)

Raqqa, which is almost outside of the realm of history and geography, is the largest prison in the world for terrorists where they execute the most brutal of torture methods on civilians. According to Al Jazeera’s encyclopedia, it is considered the capital of a state that appears to be a self-proclaimed Islamic state and is promoted as a migration dream for young people.

According to the encyclopedia, because of its strategic location between Syria and Iraq, Raqqa became the stronghold of ISIS, its capital and the decision-making center for its leadership. Immigrant fighters from all over the over travel to join the organization in Raqqa.

Zawahiri: An Egyptian fighter and doctor

ayman zawahiri AFP
ayman zawahiri AFP

The current leader of al-Qaeda and one of the most prominent founders of al-Qaeda and its long-term terrorist ideologue Ayman al-Zawahiri is presented by Al Jazeera’s encyclopedia as “an Egyptian doctor and a fighter”. The page tries to mask the information about his terrorist activities by displaying him as a highly ethical physician and thinker.

Qasim al-Raymi: Yemeni involved with al-Qaeda

قاسم الريمي
قاسم الريمي

Qasim al-Raymi, a leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen, and the master mind behind the fatalist terrorist attacks that have claimed the lives of hundreds of people, is presented by Al Jazeera’s encyclopedia as a "normal Yemeni citizen” who decided to join al-Qaeda.

Anwar al-Awlaki: An American Muslim of Yemeni origin

Anwar al Awlaki al qaeda yemen AQAP AP (video posted on radical site)
Anwar al Awlaki al qaeda yemen AQAP AP (video posted on radical site)

The encyclopedia of Al Jazeera justifies the acts of the terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki and even depicts him as a hero using an unknown website called Nidal, adding that his mission was “against a military target”; and the “soldiers who were killed were not ordinary soldiers, they were trained soldiers preparing to go to Afghanistan and Iraq”.