Friday, January 04, 2013

Alternet's Correction to Bogus Story Generated By Islamophobic Website "Clarion Fund " of Saudi Sheikh's Non-Existent Fatwa Condoning Rape

Unfortunately I tweeted the story about Sheikh's Fatwa condoning gang rape as if it were true but it turned out to be false . This was a serious error on my part. I did pick up the story from but I should have cross-checked it.
Fortunately I didn't compound the error by including  the story in the last blog post of January3, 2013.

What follows is Alternet's correction and explanation and shows how embedded Islamophobia has become in the West .

First here's a report on Islamophobia

43 Million Dollars Spent on Anti-Muslim Witchhunt

Uploaded on 12 Oct 2011

Frank Gaffney, Robert Spencer, David Yerushalmi, Daniel Pipes, and Steve Emerson were all funded by 43 million dollars in the past decade. Funding came from the following 7 sources: Donors Capital Fund, Richard Mellon Scaife Foundations, Lynne and Harry Bradley Foundation, The Russel Berrie Foundation, Becker Foundations, Anchorage Foundation, William Rosenwald Family Fund, and the Fairbrook Foundation.

This money goes to support a witchhunt meant to brainwash the American public with irrational fear over a minority that makes up less than 1% of the population. This is no different than the McCarthy Witchhunts of the 1950's where careers and lives were ruined because politicians conducted a witchhunt of Americans under the guise of foiling "Communist infiltrators." Switch Muslim for Communism and you have what we see today, a similar witchhunt with similar damaging results that seek to divide and suppress not only Muslims but all Americans.

and below Alternet article more on the misinformation business of pseudo objective  Islamic experts and scholars .
They are motivated by money and public recognition and even hatred of Islam.

Exhibit A in How an Islamophobic Meme Can Spread Like Wildfire Across the Internet The apparently fabricated story of a Saudi cleric issuing a fatwa condoning gang rapes in Syria is an object lesson in the pitfalls of breakneck online journalism. by Sanam Naraghi Anderlini at, January 2, 2013

Editor's note: On January 2, AlterNet was one of several outlets that published what turned out to be an article based on a false report. We apologize to our readers for the error.

On January 2, the story of a Saudi sheikh issuing a fatwa that condoned "intercourse marriage" or gang rape in Syria exploded over the Internet.

According to various sources, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Arifi stated that foreign fighters in Syria had the right to engage in short-term marriages to satisfy their sexual desires and boost their determination to fight against the Assad regime. Syrian girls and women from age 14 upward were considered fair game and apparently secured their own place in heaven if they participated in these "intercourse marriages."

By evening, a simple Google search of the words, "Saudi Sheikh, Syrian and women" brought up some 5 million references and at least three pages of links to articles spreading the news. Not surprisingly, there was immediate online uproar, too, though as one commentator put it, much of the discussion was about whether these arranged temporary marriages technically constituted rape. This in itself is worrying.

There was also skepticism from many quarters about the veracity of the report, particularly among savvy Mideast experts. Rightly so. The story, much like one a few months ago about Egyptian Islamist MPs proposing laws that permitted sex with a deceased spouse up to six hours after his/her death, turned out to be a gross lie. Sheikh Al-Arifi has issued a denial via his Facebook page. Over the next few days, the various Web sites and media outlets that spread the story will no doubt issue their retractions.

But the story also raises many questions. For starters, where did it come from? AlterNet inadvertently picked it up from the overtly anti-Islamic Clarion Fund site. Others pointed to the Iranian regime-backed Press TV as the primary source on Dec. 31, 2012. But the earliest English language reporting comes on December 29 from an obscure YouTube news site called Eretz Zen, tagged as a YouTube channel by a “secular Syrian opposed to having [his] country turned into a Taliban-like state."

What's extraordinary and depressing is that a slew of Web sites picked up the story and ran with it, some claiming legitimacy because others had posted it and clearly no one bothered to do some basic fact-checking. Arguably this is just the nature of the net and minute by minute news updates. The story was too sensational to give up. But one would imagine that if a similar story emerged about a Christian cleric or a rabbi, someone, somewhere would have paused before posting it. Sadly, in the case of stories about Muslim clerics or Islamists the same red flags don't seem to apply.

Perhaps Western journalists are so ignorant of Islam and the cultures in the Middle East that they are willing to believe anything. It's nothing new -- after all, Western notions of the East were always immured in sexual decadence and the allure of harems. That was a trademark of the patronizing Orientalism of the past. Today we have a phobic version of Orientalism -- expecting and only seeing and reporting the bad and the ugly.

It's not just ignorance that fans these flames. The Syrian war is being manipulated by all sides and if journalists and their Web sites want to be taken seriously, they need to be bit more savvy about who's who on the net. The Clarion Fund is so extreme in its Islamophobia it's almost satirical. Anything it posts must be taken with a pinch of salt and more. Press TV is the English language satellite station of the Iranian regime. Given that the Syrian conflict is turning into a de facto proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, it should come as no surprise that either side would opt for any smear tactics and propaganda for its own ends. Finally, the timing of the so-called story should have been questioned. It broke just as the world was up in arms about the death of a 23-year-old Indian woman gang-raped by six men on a bus. It's hard to imagine this would be so coincidental.

Clarion Fund website which was the source for the bogus story on Sheikh who advocated gang rape .
So here's a few details about Clarion Fund.

Checking the website should have caused others to be cautious since the site has several well known IslaIslamophobes on its board of director such as Daniel Pipes  who has made a career out of attacking Islam using bogus facts or analysis and transmitting all things Islam through the eyes of bigots .
Frank J. Gaffney has been leading the charge wrongly accusing White House staffers and others in the US government as being stealth Jihadist.

I have posted their contact details in case anyone wants to tell them in a message to insist on a correction and apology  for the bogus story

Clarion Fund :National Security through education

Mailing Address
Clarion Fund, Inc.
255 W. 36th Street #800
New York, NY 10018

News Desk (

For Media & Press
Tel: (732) 546-5840

and here's more on the spread of Islamophobia and how it has become over the last couple of years a more acceptable "conspiracy theory" which has no basis in fact.

Inside The Islamophobia Network
Think Progress

CNN host accuses Islamophobe Brigitte Gabriel of taking part in a witch hunt equivalent to the McCarthy communist witch hunt .

Brigitte Gabriel erroneously and outrageously claims Arabs and Muslims do not have souls and are barbaric bloodthirsty fanatics .

Video: CNN Host Slams Anti-Islam Bigot Brigitte Gabriel (CAIR)

Fanatical Islamophobe Pam Geller spews her hate against all Muslims .
Facts are of little interest to Pam Geller or other Islamophobes.
She refers to books as further reading written by objective experts when in fact the writers are Islamophobes who invent facts or mangle the facts of history to fit their bigotry.

Pamela Geller vs Imam on CNN Sunday Morning June 6, 2010

Ibrahim Hooper Savages Fox News

CAIR Rep Debates Academic Bias with David Horowitz on CNN

and so it goes,

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