Monday 17 November 2014

Confusion over the Cardiff jihadist

There is confusion tonight about whether Nasser Muthana, the Cardiff-student-turned-Islamic-State-terrorist, actually appeared in the latest IS murder video carrying out an atrocity against captive Syrian soldiers. 

It was reported last night that his father, Ahmed, had said he thought it might be his son in the video and that he disowned him and believed he should be executed in return ("a head for a head"). He said such things to the Guardian, the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard, all of who reported them. The BBC website also reported it today (or at least some of it, as I don't recall the "head for a head" bit), though I spotted that they did so on their Wales page. It was nowhere on their home page or UK page when I looked this lunchtime.

Mr Muthana Snr now no longer believes that it was his son in that video, and the BBC has been at the forefront of provoking and then reporting this change of mind. A BBC Wales reporter showed him the photos which persuaded him otherwise. Their first report announcing the father's change of mind (which appears to have been the BBC's first report on the breaking story)  has now been followed up by a second online article based around a friend of the young jihadist. The friend also says the killer in that video isn't Nasser Muthana. (The article is at pains to point out that the friend condemns IS).

I will note in passing that both BBC articles imply that the Daily Mail is guilty of misreporting here, and that they fail to note that the Evening Standard and Guardian also interviewed the father and reported pretty much reported the same things as the Mail - but I guess that's the BBC's particular animus against the Daily Mail at play there.

But, as things stand, it's looking as if the BBC might have got it right on this one. (Their reports have that bullish quality which suggests they know they're right.) Others have been looking more closely and coming to the same conclusion as Mr Muthana and the BBC, including Shiraz Maher:
As things stand, however, the BBC remains pretty much alone in reporting these denials. The Guardian and Daily Mail haven't updated their stories yet.

Update 18/11: As of 7am this morning, the BBC are sticking with their take on what the terrorist's dad said and the Guardian and Daily Mail are sticking with theirs. All have undergone updates overnight.

Also, given the BBC News website's initial underplaying of the above story, it is revealing that this morning they have placed the following story as their fifth story on the News homepage:
Alleged extremist left 'stateless'
A Muslim convert who has been stripped of his British citizenship due to alleged extremism says he has been left stateless and appeals to the Supreme Court.
Reporting the grievances of alleged Muslim extremists seems to bother the BBC more than it does other UK media outlets - and, I would imagine, most members of the British public.


  1. One thing for sure, there is far too little focus on the victims of these murderous thugs, following the religion of Sharia and the example of the religion's founder.

    Incidentally, that Shiraz Maher comes out with some odd stuff. He often ends up sounding to me like he is on a mission to demoralise the non-Muslim world.

    Dan Read

  2. he disowned him and believed he should be executed in return

    Okay, not really helpful in the whole convincing everyone that it's not a violent culture or religion thing. It certainly deducts a few points from those awarded to him for denouncing ISIS and their actions, at the very least.

    Not that the BBC will see it that way.

    1. Taqiyya. Once you know about taqiyya, I am afraid you can't take any statement of a follower of the religion at face value.

      I would accept a denunciation of the act if the denouncer also denounced exactly the same acts perpetrated by the founder of the religion.

      Dan Read


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