The story went viral over the weekend, but today columnist Jonathan Kay at Canada’s National Post described it as a “hoax” and an “instant Internet myth.”
“It is, of course, theoretically possible that Muslim radicals truly have ‘crucified’ someone, somewhere, sometime, in Egypt. Islamist mobs have staged countless murderous attacks on Copt ‘infidels’ in recent years – and a crucifixion would hardly be more barbarous tactic than truck bombs and beheadings,” he wrote.
“But the story doesn’t just allege that a crucifixion has taken place somewhere in Egypt,” he added: “It alleges that multiple crucifixions have taken place in front of the presidential palace. That would be the equivalent of, say, mass lynchings taking place in front of the White House, or a giant gang rape taking place in front of Ottawa’s Centennial Flame fountain.”
Most damning, according to Kay’s column, is that one of the key sources cited by WND for the story – an Arabic-language report by Sky News – doesn’t exist. “There is no Sky report on the subject,” he wrote.
Except there is. The English translation of a section of the Sky News report, circled in red in the video, references that members of the Muslim Brotherhood “crucified” dissidents “naked on trees in front of the presidential palace.”
Under the headline: “Crucified Dissidents In Front of the Presidential Palace,” the report, translated into English, said:
“Samir Omar – Cairo
“Arabic Sky News
“Sky News correspondent confirmed that members of the Muslim Brotherhood crucified dissidents to Muhammad Mursi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace. In addition, other demonstrators from the Muslim Brotherhood closed the gates not allowing entry to Media City in the area of Sixth of October as they attacked popular media figures. The demonstrators also yelled slogans denouncing the Farayeen TV station Tawfiq Akasheh and others whom they termed ‘Corrupt Media’ as one attacked the editor of Yaum Sabi’ (Seventh Day) Newspaper Khalid Salah. Eyewitnesses also confirmed that groups from the Muslim Brotherhood arrived in special buses and motor vehicles attacking with signs that say ‘The Media of Corruption.’ These groups then were divided in sections to close the entryways blocking entry and exit from Media City.”
On Youtube, the video of the report had only a minuscule 157 views as of today, even though it was published, by the MaghrebUnion2012, on Aug. 8.
Walid Shoebat, a former radicalized Muslim who converted to Christianity and is today an acknowledged terrorism expert and Arabic translator, told WND the Sky News article did indeed exist and that, though apparently later removed from the Sky News site, survived on YouTube (and has since been loaded onto WND servers).
Several Arab newspapers also referenced the crucifixions as a fact, he said, and noted that a number of websites had reported on the situation, including one that posted an image of a man who had been targeted, but apparently survived with a gaping wound in his side.
Said Shoebat, of the image: “Al Dostour, a reputable Egyptian newspaper under the title ‘The Muslim Brotherhood Crucify Dissidents in Front of The Presidential Palace in Egypt,’ showed a photo that was originally taken by al-Watan News of a man the Egyptian security forces saved. The side of his flesh looks as it has been literally eaten away, its a gruesome photo which can be seen with the full article.”
Tunisia-Sat also reported on the situation, Shoebat said.
Yet another site revealed a photo of the Sky News article, including what apparently is a naked man who was rescued. That report, translated for WND by another Arabic translator, states the Muslim Brotherhood crucified several protesters against the president of Egypt in front of the Presidential Palace.
Al-Wai Al-Arabi (Arab Awakening) is another source that took a photo of a naked man covered with a blanket who was rescued from the crucifixion, said Shoebat, confirming that the Arabic text says victims were crucified on trees in front of the palace.
Shoebat said the Lawyers Union in Egypt investigated the story and demanded a probe, accusing Morsi of preventing the Republican Guards from intervening to rescue what they termed Muslim Brotherhood gangs on “what seemed as the most despicable attack on civilians.” The report was approved by Shadi Tal’at, president of the Lawyers Union.
Egypt Now also reported it, and Al-Watan News even mentioned the Sky News article being deleted.
Al-Madanya (The Secular) did its own independent report on what happened in front of the presidential palace, and noted several witnesses said the attacks happened with “sticks and knives and Molotov cocktails on the evening Aug. 8 and reports indicate crucifixions on trees …”
Crucifixions in Egypt are not at all surprising, said Shoebat.
“The Egyptian M.B. leadership and the Salafist leaders who are in parliament definitely called on crucifixion as a form of punishment,” he said.
The crucifixion discussion has been around for some time, said Shoebat, referencing an announcement by an Egyptian member of parliament from the Nour (Salafist) Party calling for “strict enforcement” of Shariah Islamic law.
The proposal called for “execution” for murder, but if the crime is taking possessions accompanied by murder, the penalty would be “death” or “crucifixion,” as determined by a judge.
The original WND report also cited statements from Middle East media confirming that during a recent rampage, Muslim Brotherhood operatives “crucified those opposing Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”
Raymond Ibrahim, a fellow with the Middle East Forum and the Investigative Project on Terrorism – both highly respected U.S.-based organizations – said the crucifixions are the product of who the Middle Eastern media call “partisans.”
“Arabic media call them ‘supporters,’ ‘followers’ and ‘partisans’ of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Ibraham said, noting that the victims could be anyone, including Egyptian Christians.
“It’s anyone who is resisting the new government,” Ibrahim said. “In this particular case, the people attacked and crucified were secular protesters upset because of Morsi’s hostile campaign against the media, especially of Tawfik Okasha, who was constantly exposing him on his station, until Morsi shut him down.”
Ibrahim said extra brutality is reserved for Christians, but the crucifixions are because of Islamic doctrine and are required by the Quran.
Center for Security Policy Senior Fellow Clare Lopez cited chapter and verse from the Quran to explain that crucifixions are not simply normal for Islam, they’re demanded.
“Crucifixion is a hadd punishment, stipulated in the Quran, Sura 5:33, and therefore an obligatory part of Shariah,” Lopez said. “It’s been a traditional punishment within Islam since the beginning, even though it’s not exclusively Islamic. The Romans used it too.
“So, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood haven’t the option to not include crucifixion within their legal code. It’s obligatory to comply with Shariah. And yes, it’s for shock value also to be sure,” Lopez said.
Shoebat said, however, crucifixions are not even the worst thing happening to believers now, citing Syria’s appalling treatment of victims, including gruesome videos of beheadings and public lynchings – and the news media’s unwillingness to report them.
“Syria is on its way to becoming controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, just as we see happened to Egypt,” he said. “Will the liberal media repeat the lies again when the Muslim Brotherhood took over Egypt, as the headlines the next day after the elections stated, ‘Moderate Muslim Brotherhood Victory in Egypt …’”