Well, if you consider two months ago “new” fake news. From Sirialbano, translated by Mary Rizzo, at We Write What We Like:
They were not Christians, they were Muslims. They were not killed by means of crucifixion, but their already lifeless bodies were exhibited in that barbarian manner. The crime is ghastly, no matter what religious denomination the victims belong to. And yet it “news” of “Christians crucified in Syria” went viral in the western media, in particular in the major Italian news media.
The two major Italian newspapers Il Corriere della Sera (above) and La Repubblica (below) dedicated a great amount of space to it, bring attention to the “news” on the first page accompanied by photographs of “a man crucified in Maalula”, the small Christian small town near Damascus.
To push the directors and the heads writers towards a similar editorial choice has no doubt been the statement of Pope Francis in the official Vatican site: “I cried when i saw the news“.
The Holy Father said, “I cried when I saw on the mass media the news of Christians being crucified in a certain non-Christian nation. Even today,” he stressed, “there are people who, in the name of God, kill and persecute. And even today we see that like the apostles they are happy to have been considered to have been worthy to undergo suffering for the name of Jesus. This is the third icon of today. The joy of the testimony.”
As you know, the assertions of the Pope are always newsworthy. And a crucified Christian in a Country infested from by al Qaida is too tasty a morsel to not take full advantage of.
The fake news did not appear only for on the pro-Assad websites, the usual Islamophobic ones or the reactionary and “anti-imperialist” (but only in one direction) sites “of the left”, but in Italy’s most important mainstream newspapers. And then it to numerous other media outlets on radio, television and online.
Those who believe in conspiracies would even be led to think that it is a pro-Assad campaign in time to legitimise his election farce on 3 June. It’s not quite like that. So the question remains, “Why?”. Is it only a matter of ignorance in good faith, then? Is it only bad journalism, incapable of verifying the information and the sources?
The facts: among the seven people killed in Raqqa there were no Christians, were all Muslims and in fact two of the crucified persons seemed to be supporters or fighters belonging to other rebel factions, the accusation against them was to have thrown some explosive devices and to have tried to kill some leaders of the al Qaeda group The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
To Raqqa, a town on the Euphrates controlled by ISIS, there is underway by the general population a resistance that is trying to oppose the imposition of what the al Qaedists call Islamic law. ISIS itself, accused by various sources to be highly infiltrated by foreign secret services as well as those of the regime of Damascus, has been active since the beginning of the year in daily clashes with the other rebel groups reunited under different names (Syrian Free Army, Islamic Front, Jabhat al Nusra, etc…), defined as takfiri and therefore, wicked.
None of this matters. Any “news” that can present president Bashar al Assad to us as if he is the saviour of the nation (“it’s either him or al Qaida) is good enough and is going to be considered as authentic. In this sense, a Catholic site defined the killers of Raqqa as “anti-Assad militants”, attributing others as being engaged in disinformation: “In vain you will find in the Italian newspapers articles on the terrible event: some line or two buried in some article, nothing more. It is that in this war the needs of propaganda hinder the accounting of the crimes of the anti-Assad rebels, while emphasised, if not actually invented, are those of Assad…”
The same site citing another source goes as far as to even give a name to tone of the deceased: the Christian Antoine Hanna, a name that one sees over and over in this story.
But on the Jihadist forums of ISIS and in various tweets by ISIS fighters, it is possible to read the reply of these people to the tears of the Pope for the crucified Christians: “Dear Pope Francis, the people of Raqqa were not crucified because they are Christians but for the application of the Koranic verse 5:33″. The sura in question recites: Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land…”. This was done according to the strict application – according to ISIS – of the sharia, the Islamic law.
Read more here.