Al-Jazeera Under Fire for Podcast Praising Slain Iranian General Qasem Soleimani

Published May 13th, 2020 - 08:02 GMT
Aljazeera Under Fire for Podcast Praising Slain Iranian General Qasem Soleimani
Hours after the podcast stirred social media debate, Aljazeera podcast removed the video of its website but kept it on YouTube. (Screenshots of the video: @sultaan_1)

In its "Rumouz" series to introduce several international figures dubbed as "symbols," Al-Jazeera podcast posted a 20-minute episode praising the slain Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US airstrike last January.

Translation: "Al-Jazeera Channel includes Qasem Soleimani in its Ramadan symbols. The man, who killed Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis and Lebanese people, has become "a symbol" to Aljazeera. The criminal Soleimani is described as the warrior who's dedicated his life to serving Islam!! You can find the podcast on their audio platform."

The podcast's video teaser was widely shared by social media users, who condemned it for praising the Iranian general who's played a major role in the Iranian-Iraqi war, and whose military forces have had a crucial impact in supporting certain militias in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria over the past decades.

The podcast describes Soleimani as an "Islamic warrior who dedicated his whole life to serve Islam and the Islamic revolution in Iran." It goes on to portray him as "the Muslim hero who's greatly feared by the Great Satan, the Zionist enemy, and their traitor operatives in the region," in reference to the United States, Israel, and 'their allies in the Middle East.'

Soleimani's introduction concludes that he "was very lucky to have died as a martyr of Allah's Cause."

Hours after the podcast stirred social media debate, Al-Jazeera podcast removed the teaser off its website but kept it on YouTube.

Translation: "Al-Jazeera has posted a podcast praising and glorifying the war criminal, who's violated human rights, the enemy of democracy and freedoms, the enemy of Arabs; the deceased Qasem Soleimani."

Social media was quickly flooded with criticism of the Doha-based broadcaster, which is funded by the Qatari-government.

Some comments argued that Qatar is "willing to do anything to anger Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that strongly oppose the Iranian regime."

Some also noted that the podcast ignored the fact the Soleimani was directly involved in killing and displacing millions of Syrians, Iraqis, and Yemenis, through Al-Quds Forces, which he led for decades.

Translation: "This is not surprising. Al-Jazeera has always been implementing an Anti-GCC and Anti-Arab policy."

Some users defended the podcast's; saying that it always portrays figures in the first-person narrative regardless of political agendas, explaining that "the episode on former Iraqi president Saddam Hussien, an enemy of Soleimani, used the rhetoric a person would use to describe himself."

Translation: "For the sake of honesty, although I do agree that the channel does push certain propaganda, the format of this podcast uses first-person narrative, as if they are talking about themselves, so they'd naturally praise themselves. We need to listen to the whole episode to make a sound judgment."

Translation: "Not to defend Al-Jazeera, but this podcast makes every episode sound like they're praising whoever they are portraying, because they use the first-person narrative. Listen to episodes on Hafez Al-Assad and Saddam Hussein, you'll hear the same thing."

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