Al Jazeera publishes and deletes video of al-Nusra member, causing backlash

Qatari-owned Al Jazeera network has received backlash from Twitter users for publishing a video of a known member of al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front in Syria criticizing Saudi Arabia.

The video, published by Al Jazeera in a now-deleted tweet, features Musleh al-Olyani, a member of al-Nusra Front in Syria (also known as Jabhat al-Nusra).

“Imagine pious pilgrims [of Hajj] coming to Saudi Arabia after raising money in order to come to Jeddah, only to find the Statue of Liberty there,” al-Olyani says in the video, referring to recent entertainment festivals taking place in the city.

Al-Olyani is seen in the video wearing the ihram clothing, typically worn by men for Hajj.

One Twitter user, @Mr_Alshammeri, said: “Aljazeera Network Published a video targeting Saudi people. The video is anti-social reforms which the Kingdom implemented in recent years. The message is delivered by a known terrorist who supported extremist groups in Syria. AJ spreading extreme ideology.”

Another Twitter user, @Abunass3r, called on Twitter and YouTube to remove al-Olyani’s content from their platforms, both of which he uses to publish his videos.

“I want to bring to your attention the fact that an honest to God Alqaida member is using your platform to spread propaganda under the guise of social commentary. I want to reiterate: AN ALQAIDA MEMBER.”

Saudi user Abdullah al-Bander tweeted: “Al Jazeera TV broadcast a video of the terrorist Musleh al-Olyani who is fighting in Syria and Iraq, and labeled him as a “blogger” to criticize Saudi Arabia during the Hajj season, but then discovered that the video will get them in trouble because it proves they support terrorism – so they quickly deleted it.”

In a tweet, al-Olyani criticized the Kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority.

“Why was the voice of reason lowered in the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice while the voice of falsehood rose with the General Entertainment Authority?” he wrote.

The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice is a religious authority whose powers were curbed in 2016.

In previous videos, al-Olyani is seen advocating al-Nusra Front’s activities. “Every time [the enemies of Islam] are closer to their graveyards [their death], we [the fighters] get closer to God,” he said in one of the videos.

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