April 11, 2007
Is the Associated Press At it Again?
You'll likely remember that the Associated Press uncritically published an Association of Muslim Scholars claim on November 25, 2006 that 18 Sunni worshipers were killed in an "inferno" at the Al Muhaimin mosque in the Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad:
And the Association of Muslim Scholars, the most influential Sunni organization in Iraq, said even more victims were burned to death in attacks on the four mosques. It claimed a total of 18 people had died in an inferno at the al-Muhaimin mosque.
The claim has never been substantiated.
To the contrary, the Iraqi military forces reported no evidence of a fire having ever occurred inside the mosque, a conclusion also supported in U.S. military accounts. A photo of the interior of the mosque taken the very next day proves there was no "inferno."
The Associated Press has never issued a retraction or a correction for this clearly fabricated claim.
But why throw away a perfectly good source, just because they've been caught fabricating stories?
Today, the Associated Press once again used the Association of Muslim Scholars as a quite dubious source:
The Muslim Scholars Association, a Sunni group, issued a statement quoting witnesses as saying Tuesday's battle began after Iraqi troops entered a mosque and executed two young men in front of other worshippers. Ground forces used tear gas on civilians, it said.
"The association condemns this horrible crime carried out by occupiers and the government," the statement said.
But the witness in Fadhil said the two men were executed in an outdoor vegetable market, not in the mosque. The Iraqi military was not immediately available to comment on the claim.
Why does the Associated Press continue to use an organization with an obvious political agenda, ties to al Qaeda, and a documented history of providing false information as a source?