The Huffington Post’s New Arabic Venture: Led By ‘Hard-Line’ Islamists

The two men leading Huffington Post’s new Arabic-language site have in the past been accused of having direct involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood and radical clerics; and one has openly expressed conspiratorial views that have been interpreted as having an anti-Semitic connotation.

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Anas Fouda, an Egyptian native now living in Muslim Brotherhood-friendly Turkey, is the new editor-in-chief of HuffPost Arabi. He was arrested by UAE authorities in 2013 after being charged with being a leader in the Islamist group, according to a NOW Lebanon, which linked to an article in which Fouda allegedly admitted that he has been a member of the Brotherhood since 1988. Prior to becoming the Huffington Post Arabic editor, Fouda was an executive producer at Al Jazeera Arabic, a network accused of having rabidly pro-Brotherhood biases.

After examining his past statements, NOW Lebanon writer Alex Rowell described Fouda as “bread and butter MB; recommending for instance, articles praising” Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is considered the spiritual leader of the Islamist group. Qaradawi has in the past praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as someone “sent by Allah” to “punish” the Jews. The Muslim Brotherhood kingpin’s arrest is now being sought by INTERPOL, the international counter-terror organization.

Famous Muslim Brotherhood alumni include a plethora of international terrorists, including Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and deceased Al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Many Muslim Brotherhood members also happen to be anti-Semites, due to the jihadist group’s founding political ideology, which calls for particular hostility towards Jews. The Huffington Post Arabic editor-in-chief is no exception to the commonly-found parallel.

Fouda tweeted last July, “Only after the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza did I realize the number of Egyptian Jews has increased greatly since the coup.” The Tweet is still displayed in Fouda’s Twitter feed.

The Huffington Post’s Arabic venture was created after the left-wing news network teamed up with Integral Media Strategies, an organization led by Wadah Khanfar, who was previously employed as Al Jazeera Arabic’s managing director. Khanfar, like Fouda, has been arrested by an Arab government (Jordan) on suspicion that he was a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood terror group. Additionally, Zvi Mazel, the former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt, has in the past noted with certainty that “Wadah Khanfar is a Muslim Brother,” and that the former Al Jazeera chief turned the network into a “weapon in the service of” the Muslim Brotherhood.

Khanfar was known to “work closely” with al-Qaradawi and the Qatari government, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has reported. Under Khanfar’s control, Al Jazeera Arabic’s coverage shifted towards “encouraging opposition and promoting incitement against Arab regimes, exposing the corruption of their leaders and their entourage, while holding to an extreme Arab nationalist attitude against the US and Israel and extolling the values of conservative – and sometimes extremist – Islam,” the research institute found.

Hafez al-Mirazi, who previously served as Al Jazeera’s Washington bureau chief before resigning in protest of the network’s biased coverage, said of Khanfar: From the first day of the Wadah Khanfar era, there was a dramatic change, especially because of him selecting assistants who are hard-line Islamists.”

Another former employee told The Nation that under Khanfar’s rule, “The liberals, the secular types, the Arab nationalists are getting downsized and the Islamic position is dominating the newsroom.” 

And reports have documented that under its new leadership, Huffington Post Arabic is displaying the political ideology of those in charge of its editorial operations. In less than a month since its initial launch, Arianna Huffington’s new Arabic venture has shown a knack for showing hostility to LGBT people and women. Since its July launch, Huffington Post Arabic has failed to live up to its “progressive” and “liberal” values, some have observed. In one article, a contributor used a derogatory Arabic term to describe homosexuals.

In the piece, a columnist warned that the government is allowing “a press conference for gays in the heart of Cairo,” while using rhetoric typically applied by the Muslim brotherhood to highlight the supposed collusion between the government and secular forces against Islam in Egypt.

In a July 27th post, A HuffPoArabi columnist complained that “women need to stop playing the role of victim.”

On July 28, the site conducted a feature interview with a former spokesperson for the Egyptian Brotherhood.

And on Sunday, the site led with a piece concluding that the Brotherhood will retain its “peaceful” and “revolutionary approach” to fighting against the current government in Egypt. However, Egyptian officials beg to differ. Cairo’s current President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has described the Brotherhood as the “Godfather” of global terrorism, citing the group’s own ideology, which calls for Islam to dominate the world.


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