A Lebanese news portal is reporting on the Muslim Brotherhood connections of Huffington Post’s new Arabic language edition. The NOW report begins:
July 29, 2015 ‘Don’t be shocked if you expect one thing and find something entirely different,’ writes Anas Fouda, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post’s brand new Arabic-language edition, HuffPost Arabi, in his inaugural editorial.
The warning is apt, for presumably few readers indeed will have expected the liberal American media juggernaut to launch a venture headed by two prominent figures of the Middle East’s religious right.
Fouda, previously an executive producer at Al Jazeera Arabic (AJA), is managing the website in partnership with his old boss, former AJA director general Wadah Khanfar. Their profiles may make for interesting perusal for existing Huffington Post readers unfamiliar with the Arabic-language media landscape.
An Egyptian national now living in Turkey, Fouda was arrested in the United Arab Emirates in 2013 on suspicion of affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) – an affiliation which he freely admitted had existed since 1988, though he claimed to have held no formal party role since 1995. A browse of his Twitter timeline shows his politics to be fairly bread-and-butter MB; recommending, for instance, articles praising ‘His Eminence’ Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Holocaust-revisionist cleric who routinely denounces Shiite and Alawite Muslims, to say nothing of Jews. Indeed, Fouda has himself on occasion found less-than-obliging things to say about his Semitic cousins, e.g., tweeting last July that, ‘Only after the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza did I realize the number of Egyptian Jews has increased greatly since the coup.’
Khanfar, however, is the heavyweight of the pair; the man who made Al Jazeera the titan of Arabic media that it is today. He’s also, according to ex-colleagues, the man who made Al Jazeera the Muslim Brotherhood mouthpiece that it is today. A former Baghdad correspondent complained that once Khanfar took over the reins, ‘the liberals, the secular types, the Arab nationalists [were]getting downsized, and the Islamic position [was]dominating the newsroom.’ Former AJA Washington bureau chief Hafez al-Mirazi similarly said that ‘From the first day of the Wadah Khanfar era, there was a dramatic change, especially because of him selecting assistants who are hard-line Islamists.’ Khanfar has defended his Brotherhoodisation of the editorial line as simply a reflection of a new ‘political reality’ in the Arab world – never mind any Arabs who may seek to challenge that reality.”
Read the rest here.
The GMBDW has been reporting since June 2007 on the Muslim Brotherhood ties of former Al Jazeera General Manager Waddah Khanfar who resigned his position in 2011. We reported in August 2014 that the Huffington Post was forming a partnership with Wadah Khanfar, the former head of Al Jazeera and long associated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, to launch an Arabic-language edition targeting Middle Eastern youth. At that time we noted that Ms. Huffington’s comments about being “completely independent”, partly attributed to the London location, struck us as highly ironic given that Mr. Khanfar has long been tied to Hamas and the Global Muslim Brotherhood. His presence in London will only serve to facilitate those relationships given that London is essentially the European headquarters for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The GMBDW has an extensive profile of Wadah Khanfar detailing his ties to Haas and the Global Muslim Brotherhood. The profile begins:
According to a report in a Mideast business publication, Wadah Khanfar was born and educated in Jordan where, consistent with a Muslim Brotherhood background, he was educated as an engineer. The same report indicates that he also was a student activist, organizing a student union an activity also consistent with a Muslim Brotherhood background. In a TV interview, Khanfar stated that started his career as a journalist as an analyst on African affairs, mainly on Al Jazeera, while living in South Africa where he was doing graduate study in international politics and African studies at the time. He also described himself in the interview as “a researcher and consultant in Middle Eastern economics and political affairs.” In 1997, Khanfar became the Al Jazeera correspondent in South Africa. However, while living in South Africa, Khanfar was also was the Director of Human Resource Development for the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations (IIFSO), an organization closely tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood. A memo purporting to be a 1998 briefing document prepared for the South African President Thabo Mbeki has long been posted on the Internet and describes the IIFSO as working closely with Hamas:
Read the rest here.
The GMBDW does not expect the new Huffington Post edition, known as HuffPost Arabi, to become an overt news outlet of the Muslim Brotherhood. Rather we believe that the Brotherhood perspective will be subtly introduced through choices of stories and commentators. Accordingly, the current edition of HuffPost Arabii headlines the case of three individuals currently imprisoned in Egypt. One of those individuals, journalist Abdullah Al-Fakharani is accused of being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and the network which employs him is confirmed by reliable Western sources to be affiliated with the Brotherhood. In addition, one of the side columns is titled “Palestine … Hell Between The Zionists And The Misery Of Black Flags” (software translation). The edition also features an article by Kemal Helbawy, the former official spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West.