‘Sex Jihad’ and Other Lies: Assad’s Elaborate Disinformation Campaign
I typically ignore these types of stories, but since an LGF Page was created last month on the supposed practice “sexual jihad” in Syria, in the comments section of which I expressed my strong doubts about the story’s veracity, I want to point out that my instincts were correct
—it was yet another example of yellow journalism by the “Daily Fail”. [Correction: The source for the September Page about this topic was “Business Insider”, which in turn was citing “The Telegraph” and the Saudi-owned “Al Arabiya”.]
No other leader in the region — not Saddam Hussein in Iraq, nor Moammar Gadhafi in Libya — has relied as heavily on propaganda as Assad. His PR teams and state media are churning out a steady stream of partially or completely fabricated new stories about acts of terror against Christians, al-Qaeda’s rise to power and the imminent destabilization of the entire region. These stories are circulated by Russian and Iranian broadcasters, as well as Christian networks, and are eventually picked up by Western media.
One prime example is the legend of orgies with terrorists: The 16-year-old presented on state TV comes from a prominent oppositional family in Daraa. When the regime failed to capture her father, she was abducted by security forces on her way home from school in November 2012. During the same TV program, a second woman confessed that she had submitted to group sex with the fanatical Al-Nusra Front. According to her family, though, she was arrested at the University of Damascus while protesting against Assad. Both young women are still missing. Their families say that they were forced to make the televised statements — and that the allegation of sex jihad is a lie.
An alleged Tunisian sex jihadist also dismissed the stories when she was contacted by Arab media: “All lies!”, she said. She admitted that she had been to Syria, but as a nurse. She says she is married and has since fled to Jordan.
Two human rights organizations have been trying to substantiate the sex jihad stories, but have so far come up empty-handed. It appears that the Tunisian interior minister had other motives for jumping on this rumor: Hundreds of Islamists have left his country and traveled to Syria, and he is apparently trying to stem the tide by discrediting these fighters. Furthermore, Sheikh Mohammad al-Arifi, the man who is allegedly behind the sex jihad fatwa, denies everything. “No person in their right mind would approve of such a thing,” he says. […]
Please read the entire source article as it also covers some fictitious stories about the killing of Christians, at least one of which involved a forgery that managed to fool even the Vatican’s official news agency.
And please, before anyone starts sniping at me about how jihadists really do kill Christians—yes, I’m well aware of that, but it doesn’t mean that every story published about such things is true. As much as some people may prefer to believe otherwise, my intent is not to act as an apologist for Islamist jihadis or avoid legitimate criticism of the behavior of Muslims, but to push for and insist upon factual, verifiable stories, not propaganda manufactured by brutal Middle Eastern tyrants fighting for their survival.
Likewise, I’m equally disgusted by the propaganda manufactured by organizations that support or promote extremism of any sort, not to mention brutal jihadist groups, which is one of the reasons I posted a Page yesterday on West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.