Gross misreporting

Posted on August 29, 2014

6


many-colours-one-dream

By Singa Terhormat

Several websites have lately reported that “authorities confirmed that three Malaysian women had gone to the Middle East to join up with Isis forces.” (emphasis added)

Who exactly theses “authorities” are is not mentioned.

These websites further reported that “Jihad Al-Nikah refers to a controversial concept where Sunni women allegedly offer themselves in sexual comfort roles to fighters for the establishment of Islamic rule” and went on to report that “the concept originated from a Wahhabi edict around 2013, that called for Sunni women supporters to come forward for sex jihad and boost the morale of fighters battling against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.” (emphasis added)

The reports go on to state:

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said one of the Malaysian women had travelled to the Middle East in December last year.” (emphasis added)

One thing to notice is that no name is given to support the allegations. All it does is use phrases such as “Authorities confirmed”, “allegedly”,  “Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said” and “The intelligence official said”.

Where no named sources are provided, I have learnt to be wary of the accuracy of such articles.

As a student of Islam, I was indeed surprised to read all these as I had never in my many years of researching Islam come across such a concept as Jihad Al-Nikah or anything even remotely approaching it.

Hence I searched the internet for more information and this is what I discovered.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_jihad I found:

“The concept originated in a fatwa titled Jihad ul Nikaah and attributed to Saudi Wahhabi cleric Sheikh Mohamad al-Arefe around 2013”… Sources close to Sheikh Mohammad al-Arefe denied issuing the fatwa. Sheikh al-Arefe himself has denied allegations that he issued such a fatwa, dismissing it on his Twitter account as a “fabrication… In July 2013, on a Facebook page claiming to be connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, a commentator allegedly promoted “sexual jihad”. The page has been deemed a “hoax,” and a senior Muslim Brotherhood supported called the page a “smear campaign”… On October 7, 2013 the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that “sex jihad” to Syria was “an elaborate disinformation campaign by the Assad regime to distract international attention from its own crimes.” (emphasis added)

I also came across an article “The Enduring Myth of ‘Sex Jihad” written by a Lizzie Crocker at this website:

http://news.yahoo.com/enduring-myth-sex-jihad-054048430–politics.html;_ylt=AwrSbjMQMv1TWgUAr0HjPwx.;_ylu=X3oDMTBzdWdtZWJlBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNDIEY29sbwNncTEEdnRpZAM-

It reports:

“It started last March, when Tunisia’s Minister of Religious Affairs Nourredine al-Khademi claimed well-known Saudi cleric Muhammed al-Arifi (who urges his followers to “shed blood, smash skulls, and sever limbs for the sake of Allah”) had issued a fatwa legitimizing “sex jihad.” It was perfect click-bait: Muslim women travel to Syria to satiate the sexual desires of jihadists fighting Bashar Assad’s regime and—fingers crossed!—come home pregnant. Everyone is sexually satisfied and a new generation of extremists is born.

On social media, videos circulated claiming to have identified a woman shuffled off to the Syrian battlefield for sexual combat. And while Al-Arifi promptly denied the fatwa (those who believed it, a spokesman said, were “insane”), al-Khademi thickened the story, alleging that “sex jihadists” were returning from the front pregnant after they had been “swapped between 20, 30 and 100 rebels.”

It was wonderfully salacious. And it also happened to be untrue. But despite being repeatedly shot down by experts, the tale of lust in the service of Allah is back.

Last week, an Iranian media outlet circulated a report, which quickly spread across Arab-language social media: A Saudi woman had left for Syria three months ago—and this one included images, sultry and partially-clothed, of the supposed sex-jihadist. But earlier this week, Iranian bloggers, skirting government filters, discovered that the woman’s photo had been plucked from a porn website—a clumsy ploy to impugn the supposedly pervy Syrian opposition.

“Theologically speaking there’s no ‘sex jihad’ within Islam at all,” says Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. “It seems like something the Iranian media would put out there to discredit the rebels and the opposition and to make them look like heathens.” (emphasis added)

Some of our local leaders too have been speaking on this matter as if it were true that some local women have gone over to Syria to participate in ‘Jihad Al-Nikah’.  Whilst that possibility cannot totally be discounted, at the same time I am concerned whether like the Tunisian Government our leaders have something similarly insidious in playing-up this matter.

 

 

Posted in: Right to know