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Al Jazeera downplays Islamist violence in India by spreading half-truths, attempts to normalise radicalisation

Al Jazeera is hoping to discredit well-established facts and spin the political narrative to its advantage.

On Tuesday (April 18), Islamist propaganda news outlet Al Jazeera courted controversy for downplaying Islamist violence in India and encouraging radicalisation in the process.

In an Instagram post, the Qatari monarchy-owned organisation wrote, “Muslims have been subjected to violence for decades, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has only made things worse.⁠ Using Artificial Intelligence software, it generated scintillating images to further the false narrative of ‘Muslim victimhood’ and ‘rising Islamophobia’ in India.

In a total of 10 slides, Al Jazeera sought to create hysteria about an ‘ongoing anti-Muslim campaign’ while absolving radical Islamists of their complicity in documented acts of violence.

Downplaying the 2022 Godhra carnage

For instance, the propaganda news outlet claimed, “In 2002, 59 Hindu Pilgrims were killed in a train fire in Gujarat State, which was blamed on Muslims. It should be noted how Al Jazeera downplayed the incident as a ‘train fire’, thus insinuating that it might have been an accident.

Moreover, it suggested that the Muslim community was somehow victimised as the ‘train fire’ was ‘blamed on them.’ In reality, a total of 31 Islamists were found guilty of setting the Sabarmati Express on fire, which claimed the lives of 59 Hindus (mostly women and children).

11 of them were handed the death penalty by a special fast-track court on March 1, 2011. Their names include Abdul Razzak Kurkur, Ismail Suleja, Jabbir Binyamin Behra, Ramzani Binyamin Behra, Mehboob Hassan, Siraj Bala, Irfan Kalandar, Irfan Patadia, Hassan Lalu, Mehboob Chanda, & Salim Zarda. Their death penalty was later commuted to a life sentence in October 2017.

Among the convicted, the other 20 were awarded life sentences. They included Suleman Ahmad Hussain, Abdul Rehman Abdul Majid Dhantiya, Kasim Abdul Sattar, Irfan Siraj Pado Ghanchi, Anwar Mohmmad Mehda, Siddik, Mehboob Yakub Mitha, Soheb Yusuf Ahmed Kalandar, Saukat, Siddik Mohmmad Mora, Abdul Sattar Ibrahim Gaddi Asla, Abdul Rauf Abdul Majid Isa, Yunus Abdulhaq Samol, Ibrahim Abdul Razak Abdul Sattar Samol, Saukat Yusuf Ismail Mohan, Bilal Abdullah Ismail Badam Ghanchi, Farook, Ayub Abdul Gani Ismail Pataliya, Saukat Abdulah Maulvi Isamail Badam, Md Hanif.

As evident from the names, the extremists who burnt the train and charred 59 Hindu pilgrims to death belonged to the Muslim community.

Despite attempts by Al Jazeera to cast aspersions on the Godhra train carnage, the conviction of the 31 extremists will continue to show the mirror to all conspiracy theorists that try to trivialise the planned killing of the Hindu pilgrims.

Al Jazeera peddles lies in the name of Narendra Modi

In one slide, the Qatari state-owned news outlet claimed, “Narendra Modi, who headed the State at that time, was accused of doing little to stop the violence.”

Following the 2002 Godhra train carnage and the subsequent riots, a section of the media and civil society portrayed then-Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the man ‘who orchestrated the riots.’

When the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team gave him a clean chit in 2012, the same cabal began claiming that Narendra Modi did not ‘do enough’ to stop the riots. It’s a classical ruse used by propagandists to shift goalposts, every time they are caught lying red-handed.

Al Jazeera is employing similar tactics in the hopes of discrediting well-established facts and spinning the political narrative to its advantage. The propaganda outlet also claimed that Modi’s BJP enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in 2019, which is seen to ‘discriminate against Muslims.’

A close reading of the legislation tells us that CAA is aimed to fast-track the citizenship of religious minorities, from three neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who entered India illegally before December 31, 2014.

The law evidently does not apply to the Muslim community as they are not minorities in the above-mentioned countries. This law neither prevents any non-citizen from applying for citizenship nor takes away the citizenship of any individual. As such, it does not constitute discrimination in any way.

Propaganda outlet presents Delhi riots as ‘Muslim pogrom’

As expected, the propaganda outlet did not leave any stone in presenting a distorted view of the Delhi riots. The cycle of violence that started in the first ten days of December 2019 during anti-CAA protests culminated with the Delhi anti-Hindu riots that claimed the lives of over 50 people.

The media went hammer and tongs alleging that the Delhi riots were an ‘anti-Muslim pogrom‘, trying to paint the Modi government as Nazis and the Muslims as Jews.

When US President Donald Trump arrived in India for his official visit on February 24, 2020, widespread anarchy and chaos erupted across the national capital. Muslim mobs went on a rampage again in Delhi and a head constable of the Delhi Police lost his life.

A petrol pump was set on fire at Bhajanpura in East Delhi and many vehicles were burnt. Another DCP has been injured during clashes between two groups in Delhi’s Gokulpuri. In the midst of all this, the photograph of a certain gun-wielding rioter wearing a maroon/red t-shirt had gone viral on social media.

Some people claimed that the gunman who opened fire at police during the Delhi riots is from the ‘rightwing’ while others claimed that the said person is a Muslim rioter. Later, the gunman was identified as Shahrukh and was arrested.

Shahrukh Pathan intimidated a cop during the Delhi riots

Since then, there was chaos in Delhi. The dead body of an Intelligence Bureau constable was recovered from a drain in Chand Bagh, spearheaded by Tahir Hussain.

A Hindu man was murdered in Brahmapuri amidst chants of ‘Allah Hu Akbar’ and ‘Nara e Taqbeer’. The death toll has mounted over 50 and hundreds of people have been injured. Mosques have also been said to be damaged. A great deal of property has been damaged across the national capital.

The Delhi High Court observed, “The riots which shook the National Capital of the country in February 2020 evidently did not take place in a spur of the moment, and the conduct of the protestors who are present in the video footage which has been placed on record by the prosecution visibly portrays that it was a calculated attempt to dislocate the functioning of the Government as well as to disrupt the normal life of the people in the city.”

The court further added that the CCTV cameras were destroyed systematically that confirmed the existence of a pre-planned and pre-meditated conspiracy to disturb law and order in the city.

It said, “This is also evident from the fact that innumerable rioters ruthlessly act that in descended with sticks, dandas, bats etc., upon a hopelessly outnumbered cohort of police officials.”

Interestingly, even the deadly anti-Hindu riots of 2020 started off as ‘peaceful protests’ under the pretext of saving the Constitutional idea of India. And when the opportunity presented itself, Islamists were quick to weaponise violence under the garb of ‘provocation’ to get their writ established.

Al Jazeera dubs ‘The Kashmir Files’ as propaganda

Al Jazeera cried foul over the overwhelming response received by the film ‘The Kashmir Files’ and labelled it as a ‘propaganda film’ that supposedly demonises Muslims.

In reality, the movie is inspired by the true stories of Kashmiri Pandits. It takes viewers back to 1989, when conflict erupted in Kashmir due to rising Islamic Jihad, forcing the great majority of Hindus to flee the valley.

According to estimates, roughly 100,000 of the valley’s total 140,000 Kashmiri Pandit inhabitants migrated between February and March 1990. More of them fled in the years that followed until just about 3,000 families remained in the valley by 2011.

The movie based on video interviews with first-generation Kashmiri Pandit victims of the Kashmir Genocide was released in India in March 2022. Given that the film held the truth bare to the audience, the likes of Al Jazeera had been rattled ever since.

Half-truth about mosque demolition

Al-Jazeera also presented half-truths about the demolition of a 300-year-old mosque in Uttar Pradesh in November last year. “Today, mosques are often attacked, like the 300-year-old one in Uttar Pradesh razed for a highway,” it claimed in one of the slides.

The propaganda outlet thereby suggested that the Indian governments and law enforcement authorities casually demolish Islamic shrines and places of worship for civic projects.

In reality, all religious and non-religious structures are demolished when it becomes an obstacle to public infrastructure projects, meant for the greater good of society. And such demolition exercises are conducted following proper rules and protocols.

In the case of the 300-year-old mosque, the Muzzafarnagar district administration asked the residents of the area to relocate the mosque several times but they did not pay any heed. Once the deadline passed to make amends, the administration moved ahead with the demolition drive for road widening.

“The local SDM said the area residents were asked to relocate the mosque several times in the past, but since they did not do so past the deadline the mosque had to be pulled down,” SDM Parmanand Jha told Times Now.

Given that Al Jazeera is fixated on peddling its vicious political narrative, it chose to ignore the facts and add to the magnified sense of ‘Muslim victimhood.’

The false propaganda fed by media outlets then translates to radicalisation and real-life acts of violence, as seen in the case of Shahrukh Saifi, who killed 3 people in a Kannur-bound Executive Express train on April 2 this year.

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