Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | State Department | counterterrorism | Twitter

State Dept Re-tweets Imam Blaming Terror on 'Global Zionism'

By    |   Tuesday, 03 March 2015 04:22 PM

The Obama administration's latest efforts to counter ISIS propaganda appear to be off to a rocky start.

Last month, The New York Times highlighted the State Department's plan to promote ostensibly moderate Muslims by expanding a small agency in the department called the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications. Its mission is to pull together anti-terror messaging from other government departments including Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies.

With ISIS and its supporters sending out up to 90,000 tweets and other social media communications daily, according to the Times, U.S. officials emphasized that something had to be done to stop the terror group's momentum.

Special: Find Out Everything You Need to Know About the Rise of ISIS — Click Here

Hence the decision to enhance the role of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications.

But The Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday that the State Department's official anti-terrorism Twitter account last week tweeted out remarks by a leading Muslim cleric who linked ISIS terrorism to an international Zionist conspiracy.

Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb – a leading scholarly voice within Sunni Islam – made the claim during a "counterterrorism rally" held in Mecca, AFP reported.

Al-Tayeb "blamed unrest in the region on a conspiracy by what he called 'new global colonialism allied to world Zionism,' " according to AFP.

The State Department's Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications linked to that report, in which al-Tayeb declared that the "plot has exploited 'confessional tension' in conflict-hit Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya."

It is just the latest recent case in which State Department counterterror organs have come under fire for linking to and appearing to endorse questionable Islamic clerics.

The State Department's Counter Terror Bureau had to apologize in May for promoting a controversial cleric who runs a group that backed Hamas and endorsed a fatwa authorizing the murder of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, the Free Beacon reported.

The bureau deleted a tweet about the cleric and apologized repeatedly for giving him publicity.

Several months later, the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications came under fire for promoting a controversial anti-terror handbook from Canada that urged law enforcement agencies to stop using the term "Islamic extremism."

The manual had been rejected by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for its adversarial, anti-law enforcement tone.

It cautioned people not to call terrorists "jihadis," asserting that doing so "only emboldens them and gives them a legitimate status in the eyes of the vulnerable. Terrorism is not jihad. Jihad is a noble concept in Islam."

When asked why it promoted the controversial manual with a tweet advertising a "handbook to help parents understand extremists, combat recruitment," a State Department spokeswoman flatly denied having done so.

"Our re-posting does not connote an endorsement," she said.

In an interview with the Free Beacon, veteran journalist and counterterror expert Patrick Poole called the re-tweeting "a testament to how absurd this administration's…policies have become — promoting a publication the Canadian government has publicly rejected because they realized this booklet would do more to radicalize than to actually deradicalize."

Special: ISIS: Everything you need to know about the rise of the militant group — Click Here

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The Obama administration's latest efforts to counter ISIS propaganda appear to be off to a rocky start.
State Department, counterterrorism, Twitter
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 04:22 PM
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