On Chemical Weapons Attack International Media Turn to Former Doctor Accused of Kidnapping Journalists
The alleged chemical weapons attack this week near Idlib, Syria captured the attention of the world, as international media published horrific images of the dying and injured.
But many journalists who have covered the conflict on the ground are now outraged, as Shajul Islam -- a former British doctor who had his license stripped after being accused of participating in a terrorist kidnapping ring targeting Western journalists -- is being interviewed and promoted by international media as an expert for presenting commentary on the incident.
British journalist John Cantlie was to be the main witness against Islam during the pretrial hearing. However, Cantlie was then kidnapped a second time. Cantlie is still being held captive by the Islamic State.
Because Cantlie wasn't available to testify at the trial, the kidnapping charges were dropped against Islam.
One of the currently outraged reporters is Jenan Moussa. She has filed numerous reports from inside Syria and is one of the top journalists covering the conflict:
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) April 6, 2017
Her complaint was specifically directed at NBC News, which heavily promoted their interview with Islam:
This doctor in Syria describes the chilling reality of treating victims of chemical attacks. pic.twitter.com/IclMuvzJrM
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 6, 2017
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) April 5, 2017
— Emmanuelle Saliba (@_esaliba) April 6, 2017
But other outlets, including Al-Jazeera and the CBC in Canada, are also promoting Shajul Islam in their coverage of the attack:
Meanwhile, Islam is now using his new notoriety to raise money for his efforts. In his videos, he seems more concerned about propaganda and his fundraising than in treating the chemical weapons victims:
Islam reportedly fled back to Syria last year after having his medical license revoked. He has been active on social media from areas controlled by Jabhat al-Fateh, the former al-Qaeda affiliate: