Monday, May 19, 2008

Hamas attacks mosque; no one reports it

I mentioned over the weekend that Hamas thugs attacked and trashed a mosque in Jabalya, injuring many. More details have emerged from PCHR:
Gunmen belonging to Izzedeen El-Qassam Battalions and members of the Police raided Imam Mohammad Naser El-Deen El-Albani Mosque in Jabalia refugee camp two days ago. They took control of the mosque after expelling its caretakers, beating several of them.

At approximately 15:45 on Saturday, 17 May, masked gunmen headed to the Imam Mohammad Naser El-Deen El-Albani Mosque in Bloc 5 of Jabalia refugee camp. A vehicle carrying Izzedeen El-Qassam Battalions gunmen and two police cars accompanied the masked gunmen. The gunmen entered the mosque and demanded that the Imam, Abd El-Halim Abdallah Awad, and the Director of the Kitab and Sunna Association, Ashraf Wadi, to leave the mosque and stop managing it under order from Hamas. After a discussion between both parties, Wadi went to the police station in Jabalia refugee camp and submitted a complaint against the gunmen. Then he returned to the mosque. Several Hamas supporters gathered inside the mosque and started to perform afternoon (Aser) prayers. The gunmen used their gun butts to attack Wadi and Awad and other members of the Kitab and Sunna Associations. Then they threw them out of the mosque. Several neighbors, including women, gathered to protest what was happening inside the mosque. The gunmen beat several women.

Imam Awad took the remaining members of the Association out of the mosque through a door connecting the mosque to his nearby house. The gunmen destroyed part of the wall separating the roofs of the house and the mosque. The whole episode resulted in the injury of more than 20 people with bruises.

It is noted that the Imam Mohammad Naser El-Deen El-Albani Mosque was established by the Kitab and Sunna Association, which is a benevolent society of the Salafi movement.
Two days later there is not one story about this in the English-language press. Not even Maan's English edition mentioned it.

Isn't it strange that an attack like this - which caused severe damage to the mosque - gets ignored?

The story is newsworthy by any real standard. We have irony that an Islamic movement is attacking mosques, we see that Muslims routinely see mosques as political and military objectives while they insist that Westerners treat them strictly as religious sites, we can only imagine how many Korans were damaged and destroyed in the carnage. All of these are the types of "hooks" that reporters routinely use to make stories more interesting to their readers, and even though there are daily attacks by Hamas against Gazans that might be considered too boring to make it into the news, this attack does not fit that category.

The reason is obvious. Hamas threatens, arrests and injures reporters who do not report things to their liking. All reporters left in Gaza are Muslims who live there and who are biased anyway against Israel but are scared of Hamas. As a result, reporters are reluctant to report, the news gets skewed towards the terrorist point of view, and this percolates throughout the entire mainstream media and into the hearts and minds of ordinary readers.

News organizations are supposed to report the news, and if they cannot do so they should tell their consumers why. They should not just choose to ignore stories that would get a huge amount of coverage in any other context.