The deception and depths of depravity and lying to which Islamophobes will devolve into knows no bounds. We have covered this specific well-worn Islamophobic pattern of lies and mischaracterizations numerous times; the Gaza Mass Pedophilia Wedding lie, the Nigerian Muslims burn hundreds of Christians lie, the John Hopkins Muslim Doctor Supports FGM lie, the Muslim Brotherhood Crucify Opponents lie and we can go on and on. In fact, at some point I want to collect all these stories and index them for easier Loonwatcher use.
In another such lie, in June, Islamophobes started spreading a video titled: “Graphic video: Muslims slaughter Christian convert in moderate Tunisia”. I won’t post the video itself, as it is too gruesome, but the link is provided for whoever wishes to see it for themselves. This title when searched on Google produces 7,000 results. When one searches “beheading+Christian+Tunisia” or similar search terms one comes across more than 300,000 results.
The Anatomy of a Lie
The video of the beheading actually surfaced in May, not June, and was titled “‘Free Syrian Army’ Behead a Civilian.” For anyone who has knowledge of the region, the video is definitely not from Tunisia. As the original YouTube user who uploaded the video, TimeToFightBack1 wrote in an update to the video, “the dialect, the terrain and the clothing are all suggestive of Syria.” The murderers refer to their victim as “Rafidi” a demeaning term used exclusively to refer to Shias, and in the mouths of AlQaeda and their affiliate extremists is also usually accompanied by proclamations of being “renegades” and “apostates,” all the more to cheapen the life of their victims and to justify the spilling of their blood. (h/t: MAbdullah)
The perpetrators of this beheading were likely one of the AlQaeda linked or influenced groups who have infiltrated the Free Syrian Army or claim to be part of the Free Syrian Army (a very underreported and undocumented phenomenon in Western media).
The video failed to go viral in its original manifestation, perhaps because it doesn’t jibe with the prevailing narrative of a united, just, and Free Syrian Army fighting for democracy, rule of law and to overthrow the despotic Bashar al-Assad.
In early June, Egyptian T.V. (Masr al-Youm, “Egypt Today”) personality Tawfiq Okasha played part of the beheading video on his TV show. Okasha is well known for his over-the-top animosity and virulent disdain for Islamists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. He described the beheading as happening in Tunisia, nowhere did he identify how he came to this conclusion, but in light of his political agenda it is clear why he would forward such a narrative.
Understanding the political context in Egypt gives us some clues. Okasha was using the video, in the lead up to the second round of Egyptian presidential elections to forward a fear-mongering premise to his Egyptian viewers, essentially telling them: look at what is happening in Tunisia as a result of the Islamist party of Rachid Al-Ghannouchi, ‘Al-Nahda’ having won elections, radicals are killing civilians and minorities. If the Muslim Brotherhood wins the upcoming presidential election you can expect the same thing in Egypt.” A few weeks after this aired, on June 24 Mohammed Morsi was declared president. Okasha recently announced the formation of a new political party, Egyptian National People’s Party, presenting himself as Egypt’s “champion against a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Raymond Ibrahim (the same individual who forwarded the Muslim Brotherhood Crucify Opponents hoax), a Coptic-American and long time writer on JihadWatch got a hold of the video, and the rest is history. The video that originally was posted in May as “Free Syrian Army Beheads a Civilian” had completely transformed into a viral news story in the looniverse, “Graphic Video: Muslims Behead Christian Convert in ‘Moderate’ Tunisia.”
One can easily discern the motive for such deception on the part of Islamophobes. The manipulated story validates, in one fell swoop, their prejudices against Islam, Muslims and the “Arab Spring,” while at the same time affirming for their audience the narratives of persecution of minorities (specifically Christians), the supposed “unique” violent nature of Islam, and most importantly the idea that changes being brought about by the Arab uprisings will not herald freedom, democracy, dignity, and rights (the slogans of Arab revolutionaries), but “radical Islam” a la the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
On its own the video is a potent reminder of violent fundamentalist extremism. The re-packaging and re-titling of the video is not only a detriment to factual news reporting and information gatherers, it is an insult to the memory of the poor Shia’ man who was murdered by these extremists.
The damage from this story has already been done, the looniverse has consumed it, reinforcing their own prejudices. It is hoped this article will go some way in dispelling the false re-packaging and re-titling of the video–and may the unnamed, murdered man rest in peace.