Al-Qaeda’s media arm As-Sahab Media Foundation released a bulletin on Monday that included a death threat against prominent Egyptian journalist and TV host Ibrahim Eissa.
The bulletin featured a cartoon picture of Eissa with a bullet aiming for his heart and a phrase reading “Who will kill this malignant [man] for us?”
This bulletin is the first in a series titled “Shut up the evils of media”.
It attacked Eissa’s statements on historical military Muslim commander Khalid ibn al-Walid on his show Mokhtalafon Alayh (Disagreed On) on the Arabic-language American satellite channel Al-Hurra.
The bulletin titled “Loyalty and Defamation on the Sword of God, Khalid ibn al-Walid’ said that “Eissa sought to cast doubt on the credibility of ibn al-Walid’s Islam and challenged his sincerity to prophet Muhammed”.
It claimed that Eissa is a tool used by the United States to implement its agenda in the region. It also accused him of abandoning his Islamic faith and deliberately provoking controversy over religious symbols.
Following the threats, Eissa posted on his Twitter account the Quranic verse, “Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us.”
Al-Qaeda’s death threat has stirred controversy on social media platforms. The majority of Twitter users announced total support to Eissa and demanded his protection. They even launched the hashtag #I_support_Ibrahim_Eissa. However, others attacked him and what they described as his constant controversial statements against Islam.
Eissa has recently voiced a series of remarks that was broadly described as controversial in the Muslim-majority country.
In February, Egypt’s top prosecutor ordered an investigation in complaints filed against Eissa over statements in which he questioned the Al-Miraj journey of the Prophet Muhammad.
This came a few days after Eissa claimed during his program ‘Cairo Talk’ on the privately owned Al-Qahera Wal Nas TV channel that “there is no Journey of Al-Miraj … it is a totally fictitious story.”
In Islam, Al-Miraj journey, also known as the Night Journey, is the ascent of Prophet Muhammad to heaven where he met earlier prophets and was informed of the duty of Muslims to recite prayer five times a day.
Previously, the Sunni Muslims’ top religious institution Al-Azhar, has condemned the Ramdan drama series written by Ibrahim Eissa ‘Faten Amal Harbi’. Egypt’s Al-Azhar also warned against mocking verses of the Quran and distorting the image of clerics.
The prominent TV presenter has held a number of editorial positions, including editor-in-chief of Al-Dostour newspaper during Hosni Mubarak’s last few years and El-Tahrir newspaper after the 2011 revolution.
Known for opposing Mubarak’s regime, Eissa was sentenced to two months in prison in 2008 for publishing an article a year earlier in Al-Dostour that raised questions about Mubarak’s health condition.
The court found Eissa’s article negatively impacting the country’s economy. Eissa was spared jail time by a presidential pardon from Mubarak himself.