Thursday, January 01, 2009


Aieee! Hamas has brought in Shariah law, complete with flogging, amputations and crucifixion! Keep bombing, Israel!
Next they'll be cutting the breasts off Belgian nuns!

Er...the source?

I can't read Arabic. Never mind: gullible conservatives can't either.

But we have here, it seems, another piece of (very timely) urban folklore.


UPDATE: (January 2) More here. This story turns out, as I suspected, to be right up there with the conservative press-and-blog-driven "Jewish badges in Iran" hoax two years ago. (Some commentators, it seems, can't tell Gaza and Iran apart anyway.)

On December 24, a single report appeared in a London-based Arab newspaper, Al Hayat, based upon an error (a clarification was apparently issued* the next day, but the genie was well out of the bottle by then). The Al Hayat story was picked up the same day on the Al-Arabiya website.

There is some question about the word "crucifixion" even appearing in the original story--perhaps Arab-speaking readers could confirm or deny this. In any case, the item was pounced upon by the Jerusalem Post, which at least included, as its very last line, "The Jerusalem Post could not verify the veracity of the Al Hayat report."

As we know, this didn't stop the Usual Suspects from running with it, whether out of credulousness or mendacity. Last word to Nathan Brown: "
The combination of old and new media can sometimes create an echo chamber that magnifies inaccuracy rather than corrects it."

*The link to this clarification in Nathan Brown's article doesn't work. And I looked in vain in the English-language edition of Al Hayat for both the original story and the clarification.

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