Rabat – For Ahmed Mansour, journalist at Qatari Channel Al Jazeera, destructive hurricane Irma which is making its way across the Caribbean Islands and US state Florida, is a “display of God’s greatness which many dare to deny.”
In a Facebook post, the Egyptian journalist published a picture depicting the swarmed highways of the US State as many citizens are evacuating Florida, captioned with “the grand escape from Florida … 20 million American running away in fear of hurricane Irma which is wiping out everything in its wake,” adding a Quranic verse stating: “and He will show you His signs, and what signs of Allah will you deny?”
For many of the 4 million followers of Mansour, the comment did not go so well, describing it as a show of hate speech and religious intolerance. The journalist was severely criticized for gloating over people’s misfortune, ones that are in grave and deadly danger.
Others accused him of misusing and misinterpreting a verse of the Quran, twisting its original meaning to suit his opinions. One Facebook users pointed out in a comment of Mansour’s post: “What signs?! Even the murders and killing and destructions happening in Muslim countries are part of His [God] signs!”
In another comment, a Moroccan Facebook user residing in Miami, Florida, responded to Mansour by explaining that it was a matter of “evacuation measures, following the instructions and advice of the US government to avoid any casualties.”
He added that “the US is applying its prevention measures and familiarize its people since childhood to follow its SOS alert. It is out of precaution and not fear!” The man also made sure to remind the journalist that if his post “contained some kind of hatred or gloating against non-Muslims, do not forget that many Muslims actually live in Florida.”
Another commentator pointed out the double standard in Mansour’s discourse: “Back in 2015 when a crane fell on pilgrims in Mecca causing hundreds of death, or when again thousands died in the stampede the same year, you called that a ‘test’ from God and a ‘technical’ issue.”
“How is this any different?” demands the man, adding that Mansour’s comment show grave “hypocrisy and unprofessionalism.”
Mansour seemed to not think much of the criticism addressed against him. Soon after he publish another Facebook post with a video showing a dozen of airplanes “fleeing” Florida’s airport in fear of the hurricane, captioned with the same Quranic verse.
The Egyptian journalist was probably encouraged by the support of some of his followers, who expressed the same hateful and gloating opinions against the victims of the Irma hurricane.
The Egyptian news anchor removed the controversial post from his Facebook account following the uproar he caused.