LONDON: Al Jazeera published an article last week titled “Hisham Ashmawy...the other side of Al-Ikhtiyar (The Choice)” where the author praised the Egyptian terrorist and sought to clear his name, but later took down the piece due to “contradictions with Al Jazeera publishing policies,” according to the news site.
This comes within the same month that the Qatari-owned network published a podcast glorifying killed Iranian General Qasim Soleimani, as well as a full interview with terrorist-designated Hamas’s leader Ismael Haniya.
“Not only did Al-Jazeera glorify Hisham Ashmawy, but it also always glorified different terrorist leaders and organizations as long as they fought the people and systems (or governments) that disagree with the Qatari regime’s policy,” Terrorism and extremism expert Hani Nesira told Arab News.
“Qatari Al-Jazeera network and its websites on the Internet have consistently glorified the symbols of extremism and terrorism and portrayed them as symbols of resistance and national liberation.”
The full article, which cannot be accessed anymore, began by suggesting that political systems resort to television programs and drama series in order to influence peoples’ minds, notably highlighting current Egyptian Ramadan show Al-Ikhtiyar (The Choice).
“It deliberately used lies and slander in their portrayal of a number of prominent Islamic figures, such as Sheikh Rifai Sorour, as well as other personalities who chose the path of armed resistance against the Egyptian coup regime, such as officer Emad Abdel Hamid and his colleague Hesham Ashmawy,” the author, Islamic scholar and Member of the Political Bureau of the Salafi Front, Mustafa Al-Badry wrote.
“The character inspired by Hesham Ashmawy was one of the elements on which the drama series greatly relied. The series portrayed him in a way that is different from how he is known by the people who were close to him. I, therefore, hope to shed light on the real story of Maj. Hesham Ashmawy,” Badry continued.Ashmawy was an Egyptian security officer who was suspected of having been involved in and having orchestrated several terrorist attacks on security officials and state institutions, including the 2014 Farafra ambush that left at least 22 killed, and the 2015 assassination of Prosecutor general Hisham Barakat.
The news site has since removed the article, which was shown in its opinions section, replacing the text with an explainer noting its deletion.
“This article has been deleted, as it contradicts Al Jazeera’s publishing policies and the requirements of professional behavior. Al Jazeera’s blogs confirm that what happened was an individual professional mistake and that appropriate measures will be taken to hold the person responsible accountable and ensure that it is not repeated again in the future,” it read.