WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Foreign interference in U.S. domestic affairs and meddling in U.S. elections is a serious and legitimate concern. When we think of attempts by foreign governments to spread disinformation, Russia immediately comes to mind. But Russia is not alone.
The government of Qatar, through its state sponsored international propaganda outlet, Al Jazeera, is actively engaged in spreading malicious disinformation in what is a clear attempt to influence the upcoming midterm elections. Al Jazeera, using a paid operative, immigration attorney Hassan Ahmad, is attempting to stoke racial and ethnic tensions in the United States through false and inflammatory rhetoric on the important topic of immigration policy.
Ahmad, in a three-minute video distributed on Al Jazeera, charges that enforcement of U.S. immigration laws is tantamount to an "ethnic purge," is "targeting black and brown bodies," and is "rooted in white nationalism," a charge he levels over footage of Nazi storm troopers. While serving as a propaganda agent of the Qatari monarchy, Ahmad attacks broad-based coalitions, including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), for exercising their rights as citizens to oppose mass amnesties for illegal aliens and set reasonable limits on immigration.
Al Jazeera's exposition of the immigration issue is clearly not meant to inform. It is explicitly meant to inflame, incite, and achieve political objectives for its masters in Doha – namely influencing the outcome of the midterm elections and attacking the sovereign right of the United States to enforce its immigration laws. In addition to the blatant attempt by a foreign government to interfere in U.S. domestic affairs and elections, the false charges leveled by Al Jazeera are sponsored by a government with an appalling record on human rights.
Ahmad's attempts to stir racial and ethnic animosity include:
- An assertion that non-white U.S. citizens carry their passports with them at all times. Despite the fact that there is no evidence that the U.S. government is targeting racial minorities, it is an odd charge from a Qatar-run entity, a country in which, according to Amnesty International, employers routinely "confiscate [foreign] workers' passports and deny them the exit visa they need to leave Qatar."
- An assertion that in the enforcement of its immigration laws the United States subjects immigrants to "unspeakable horrors." Again, a false claim – the United States offers foreign nationals, including illegal aliens, expansive access to our judicial system. The U.S. treatment of foreign nationals contrasts with that of Qatar where an army of foreign workers (who outnumber Qataris six to one) have virtually no rights. Amnesty International finds that "deceptive recruitment practices which see migrant workers promised more favourable conditions of work by recruiters in their home country than they are given on arrival in Qatar; employers compelling workers to live in squalid conditions; late or non-payment of wages; and employers not giving workers proper identity documents, which leaves them exposed to arrest. In extreme, but not exceptional, cases migrants are subjected to forced labour."
- An assertion that the United States is failing in its obligation to admit refugees. In truth, the United States has resettled some 900,000 refugees since 2001. Oil-rich Qatar, by contrast, has formally granted refugee status to a grand total of 42 Syrians – fellow Muslims fleeing a protracted and bloody conflict in the region.
- An assertion that the United States discriminates against Muslims and has imposed a "Muslim ban." President Trump's executive order merely places temporary restrictions on admissions of people from countries known to harbor and sponsor terrorism – restrictions that have been lifted when these nations satisfy the security concerns of the United States. Oddly, for a country that is allegedly discriminating against Muslims, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States – growing from an estimated 2.35 million adherents in 2007 to 3.45 million in 2017. More importantly, Muslims in the United States enjoy the full constitutional protections that apply to all other residents. Unlike Qatar, where women are at best second-class citizens, these rights and protections extend to all people.
Al Jazeera is owned by an autocratic monarchy. Its attempts to manipulate U.S. public opinion through the use of slickly produced propaganda is every bit as pernicious as the efforts of Russia and other foreign governments.
As we approach the 2018 midterm elections, FAIR calls upon Congress, the Department of State and other relevant government bodies to address the malicious disinformation campaign funded by the government of Qatar that is aimed at influencing the democratic process in the United States and sowing discord.
Contact: Matthew Tragesser, 202-328-7004
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With over 2 million members and supporters nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.