A GIOR investigation has found that three of four Al Jazeera Arabic opinion pieces on the Russian invasion of Ukraine were authored by individuals affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and/or its allies. The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported earlier this week that elements of the Global Muslim Brotherhood were attempting to shift the narrative on the Russian invasion of Ukraine to Middle East conflicts., particularly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, noting the attempts center on alleged hypocrisy in the Western response to the invasion. We also reported earlier this week on a sympathetic English language article published by Al Jazeera, also centered on an alleged double standard in the Western response.
The Al Jazeera English opinion section currently contains at least one article in a similar vein, titled “Covering Ukraine: A Mean Streak of Racist Exceptionalism- Western Moral Deformities Are on an Open Display Amid the War in Ukraine.” Yet, this article is only one among many in the section, together presenting a somewhat balanced view of the conflict, albeit heavy on criticisms of the US. However, the Al Jazeera Arabic opinion section has four prominently displayed articles, three of which characterize the Western media response to the invasion as hypocritical, racist, and showing double standards towards Arabs and the Middle East. These articles also attempt to shift the narrative on Ukraine to the Middle East.
The first article was written by Suleiman Saleh, identified by Al Jazeera only as a Professor of Media at Cairo University and a former member of the “Revolution Parliament.” However, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood website says Saleh is “a professor who is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.” In his article, titled “Russia’s War on Ukraine. What We Never Knew About Western Hypocrisy”, Saleh alleges that Western states, the US in particular, are guilty of double standards, prejudice, and racism. He claims that the Russian aggression is only condemned because the victims are “white or who resemble Western states.” At the same time, the “tragedies of the Arab and Muslim peoples” are ignored, singling out Gaza, Yemen, Syria, and Myanmar as examples. Saleh also cites the Ukrainian soldier who was recently reported to have detonated mines on a bridge where he was standing to stop a Russian armored column from advancing. In the example, Saleh compares the incident to Palestinian “martyrdom operations,” the overwhelming majority of which have involved attacks on Israeli civilians:
The Ukrainian man who blew himself up in a Russian tank deserves to be glorified, proud and presented as a hero who sacrificed his life in defence of his country’s freedom and independence, but at the same time there are many Palestinian men who carried out martyrdom operations and blew up their bodies in the tanks of the Israeli occupier and his army to liberate their land.
Saleh also complains that while world sanctions have been imposed on Russia, boycotts directed against Israel were labeled anti-Semitic and criminalized by the UK.
In the second article, author Yasin Aktay is identified only as a Turkish academic, politician, and writer. In reality, Aktay is a high-ranking official of the Turkish AKP, the Islamist political party closely associated with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Aktay is also known to be close to the networks of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. In the article titled “The Drums of War, Russia’s Exposed Face and the West Full of Slogans”, Aktay talks about the “mask,” hiding Europe’s true nature:
Reactions to Russia’s war on Ukraine revealed the disappearance of the mask that covered the face of Europe, under which completely different forms emerged from those it had been trying to present to the world for a long time.[…]After all, the European face that was revealed after its reactions to the Russian attack on Ukraine was very ugly, very outdated, racist and very ignorant, which is reflected in the way many reporters and commentators on many television channels speak of Ukrainian refugees, which reveal deep-rooted racial discrimination, ignorance and indifference that hide racism beneath it, much deeper than a matter of language.
Aktay also complains about double standards, alleging that Syrian, Arab, and African refugees are not treated in the same way as Ukrainian refugees. He complains as well that foreign fighters coming to aid Ukraine are described differently than those who “rushed from all over the world [to Syria] to help against a dictator who killed his people,” ignoring Western concerns about the Islamist affiliations of such foreign fighters in Syria.
The third Al Jazeera Arabic article is authored by Mutaz Al-Khatib, identified only as a Professor of Philosophy at the Hamad bin Khalifa University School (HKBU)l of Islamic Studies. However, his HKBU biography says Al-Khatib is an Assistant Professor at the Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE), closely associated with Muslim Brotherhood leaders Tariq Ramadan and Youssef Qaradawi. In his article, titled “War on Ukraine between Professional Standards and Media Ethics,” Al-Khatib alleges that Western media coverage on Ukraine has “violated two things: professional standards and media ethics” and singles out various Western media, including the BBC, ITV, CBS, and NBC. Citing the same comments by Western reporters referred to above, as well as alleged incidents of discrimination at the Ukrainian border, he alleges that racism is “escalating in Europe” and European immigration policy “reflects a form of racism that rejects pluralism or tolerance of different cultural and religious forms and patterns that do not correspond to the modern model.”
In September 2020, the US ordered Qatari-owned Al Jazeera in the US to register as a foreign agent. According to the New York Times:
…the Justice Department said that AJ+, a network that primarily produces short videos for social media in English as well as Arabic, French, and Spanish, engages in “political activities” on behalf of Qatar’s government.
[NOTE: All Al Jazeera Arabic articles were translated using Google Translate]