Fake news from Kuwait delights Islamophobes

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Robert Spencer, the notorious American Islamophobe who runs the Jihad Watch website, is jubilant at reports that Kuwait has stopped issuing visas to citizens of five Muslim countries — which he sees as vindication of Donald Trump’s visa ban on seven Muslim countries.

“The US is not allowed to have a similar concern [to Kuwait]. That would be racist! Islamophobic! Hateful!” Spencer writes. “This action by the Kuwaiti government neatly reveals the absurdity of such objections.”

Spencer, who in 2013 was banned from entering Britain to address a march by the racist English Defence League, also takes a firm stance against “fake news” about Muslims suffering under Trump’s visa ban. On Wednesday, in response to one such story, he wrote:

“Due to the proclivities of the establishment propaganda media, the lie went around the world before the truth had finished tying its shoes.”

Shunning “establishment propaganda media”, Spencer appears to put his trust in Fox News (which he quotes a lot) and the Russian government’s Sputnik International.

As it turns out, the story about Kuwait that so excited Spencer had come from Sputnik via Asia News International. On 2 February Sputnik published a report which began:

“Kuwait has ripped a page from the playbook of US President Donald Trump by suspending the issuance of visas for travellers native to Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran …”

A day later, however, Sputnik published a retraction:

“Correction: the following news article proved to be untrue. As Ghulam Dastagir, Pakistan’s ambassador in Kuwait said on Wednesday, this rumour first appeared in 2011. Mr Dastagir clarified that Kuwait hasn’t placed any visa ban on Pakistani nationals. No contrary statements have been issued by representatives of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran.”

Kuwait has also categorically denied the story.

Sputnik at least deserves some credit for admitting its report was wrong but in the meantime numerous websites had regurgitated it. Besides JihadWatch, they include:


International Business Times

Indian Express


Construction Week

Morocco World News


Chandigarh Tribune



India TV

Pagal Parrot

Scroll Today

Jagran Josh

Live Trading News

Big News network

Dhaka Tribune

Tech Facts Live

Blasting News


The Gateway Pundit

To quote Robert Spencer, “the lie went around the world before the truth had finished tying its shoes.”

Meanwhile, some Twitter users are celebrating Kuwait’s non-existent decision to follow “Trump’s lead” and one asks: “Will the left call Kuwait islamophobic now?”

There are, in fact, plenty of things to protest about regarding Arab Gulf states’ immigration policies (as I explained earlier this week) but Kuwait’s imaginary visa ban isn’t one of them.

Originally published at al-bab.com.

Former Middle East editor of the Guardian. Website: www.al-bab.com. Author of 'Arabs Without God'.

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