Just a few years ago, Dr. Salah Sultan was being hailed in the U.S. establishment media as “one of the most respected Islamic scholars in the country.” Now he’s being hunted by the Egyptian military for inciting violence against police during Muslim Brotherhood protests in Cairo earlier this month.
Salah Sultan has come a long way in recent years. Back in April 2006, I first wrote about his statements in support of the terrorist group Hamas and his connections to the international Muslim Brotherhood, not only because of his national prominence as a “moderate” Muslim leader, but because he was also my neighbor then living in my hometown of Hilliard, Ohio.
That article brought an immediate response from the Columbus Dispatch, which attacked me as a bigot and an “Islamophobe” for daring to question Sultan’s “interfaith” credentials, invoking the support he received from Columbus Muslim community and his position on the Fiqh Council of North America (which bills itself as the highest Islamic authority on the continent).
And yet two weeks after the Dispatch launched their broadside in defense of him, Sultan appeared on a Saudi TV station saying that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by the U.S. government to start a “war on Islam” and defending a Yemeni sheik designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a terrorist for his support for Al Qaeda.
This episode will be familiar to many readers and viewers of TheBlaze as it was covered in “The Project” 2-part documentary that aired last September as seen in this clip from the program:
The establishment media’s continued refusal to correct the record in light of Sultan’s escalating extremism and calls to violence will prove more embarrassing in light of the reports that the once “respected” U.S. Islamic leader is now wanted by Egyptian authorities.
On Sunday, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that Sultan is wanted on charges of inciting Muslim Brotherhood supporters to attack the police station in Ezbekiya – located in the heart of downtown Cairo – and incidents related to the occupation of the historic Al-Fatah Mosque by loyalists of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. That follows a report last week in the Egyptian Independent that a warrant had been issued for Sultan’s arrest as a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership.
This is not Salah Sultan’s first go-around with Egyptian authorities. Last year, it was reported by Al-Ahram that he was wanted for questioning by authorities for issuing a fatwa calling for the killing of all Israelis in Egypt and the assassination of the Israeli ambassador. A few weeks later, the Anti-Defamation League noted Sultan’s statements blaming violence directed at Coptic Christians in Egypt as the “acts of Jews.” After the election of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi as president, Sultan was appointed by Morsi as Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs – one of the top religious positions in Egypt.
Thus, what is now common knowledge for the international media, namely Salah Sultan’s exhortations to violence, his virulent racism, and his leadership position in the Muslim Brotherhood, is still an object of abject denial by the establishment media here.
But in fact, the establishment media is now doubling-down by taking their denial to a generational level.
One of the other key leaders of the pro-Morsi protest that was broken up by the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior on Aug. 14 was none other than Salah Sultan’s oldest son, Mohamed. An Aug. 1 article in The Australian reported on the role of Mohamed Sultan in coordinating the protests around Cairo that later turned violent. When reports of torture of “infiltrators” at the Muslim Brotherhood protests began to circulate, he confirmed to Mada Masr (cited as “a son of a leading Muslim Brotherhood figure”) that the torture was happening but claimed it was unbeknownst to the protest organizers. And though he acknowledged that some of his friends had been caught with a torture victim, he claimed that they were actually helping the victim.
That didn’t stop reporter Molly Hunter of ABC News from offering a glowing portrait of Mohamed’s directing activities and coordinating media at the Muslim Brotherhood’s protest site and his decidedly one-sided account of the violence surrounding the government’s clearing of the square. And while Hunter’s report featured a picture of Mohamed with his father, there was no mention at all of Salah Sultan’s leadership position in the Muslim Brotherhood. When I contacted Hunter on Twitter about this notable oversight, my query was met by silence.
That glowing report was followed by an ABC News video interview with Mohamed Sultan by Martha Radditz portraying him as some innocent Egyptian-American activist who just happened to get caught up in the violence – this time with no mention whatsoever of his role in organizing the protests that led to the violence in addition to the imposed silence about his father’s leadership position in the Muslim Brotherhood.
So the campaign of denial and silence by the U.S. establishment media surrounding one of the top “moderate” U.S. Islamic clerics that was reported last year in “The Project” here at The Blaze continues. If it is the truth and the whole truth that you’re seeking, you will still have to continue to look beyond the “official” news.
Patrick Poole is a National Security and Terrorism contributor to The Blaze. You can follow him on Twitter.
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