Constructing Islamophobia: The #Shoebat Detail

Walid Shoebat is a good man.

Disenchanted by a life as a Palestinian terrorist – who firebombed an Israeli bank and went to jail – Shoebat left Islam and became a Catholic Christian in the USA. He also founded the Shoebat Foundation in Pennsylvania and today, dedicates himself to unearthing the evil within Islam and create awareness about persecuted Christians.

The facts that the bank that he allegedly attacked has no record of being attacked, that no family members ever heard of his terrorist activities, that the Israeli jail has no record of incarcerating him and that his ‘foundation’ is not recognized by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office – are irrelevant. Undeterred, Walid propagates his vision from the pulpit of shoebat.com.

Recently, on this website, Walid’s son Theodore Shoebat posted about how a Christian boy was beaten to death by Muslim men in Bangladesh, along with a horrific video of torture. This tragic event did take place in Bangladesh. The inhumane torture of Rajon, a 13-year old boy was inexplicably videotaped. The video went viral on social media, leading to popular demonstrations and the eventual arrest of the culprits.

rajon1
#JusticeForRajon was tweeted thousands of times and Facebook was inundated with angry posts after the incident in Bangladesh.

The tiny, innocuous detail that Shoebat added was the word ‘Christian’. Almost everyone in Bangladesh would know this is an unnecessary and concocted detail. The boy was not Christian. Of course, you’re thinking, but, the men WERE Muslims! Yes, they were. But to say Muslims killed Christian boy subtly implies that it was their Muslimness that led them to commit the crime. In reality, it was a dispute over an alleged theft. Theodore’s headline, “Video Shows Muslims Tie Christian Child to a Poll [sic] and Beat Him to Death and Laugh About It” – paints it as a Islamic problem; as an outcome of Muslim hatred against Christians in Bangladesh. The report hijacks a tragic murder and employs it in creating the impression of a hate-crime and maligning a religion.

Deliberate and sensational misinformation spreads quickly. It was the same in this case. Websites like Republicbuzz & JewsNews, forums like Linkis and Disqus and social media sites like Forum for Middle Eastern Understanding quickly picked up on the story. Others drew parallels with terrorist killings. One sinister lie has now had thousands upon thousands of views and comments.

There’s already enough division and hatred in the world, Shoebats. No one – neither Muslims, nor Christians – need you and your ilk adding fuel to the fire.

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