It has been claimed that Qatar-owned media have incited terror and death threats against a rival broadcaster over MBC’s TV drama Al Gharabeeb Al Soud (Black Crows). The series is a dramatized version of life under the Daesh rule in Syria and Iraq, therefore raising questions over whether the Doha-backed channels are standing up for extremist ideology.
Al-Jazeera’s Arabic-language service, which has been blocked in the UAE and KSA, has attacked the show, encouraging terror threats against the channel and its employees, an MBC executive said to Arab News. The channel has also attacked the show on social media implying that it is demeaning to Sunni Islam.
Given the very recent severing of ties with Qatar, other Qatar-backed media have also taken a critical stance on the show, since it is created by a Saudi-owned broadcaster.
This has resulted in MBC Group beefing up security at its facilities across the Middle East following Daesh threats made over the broadcast of Black Crows, while Kuwaiti actress Mona Shaddad said she and other cast members had received death threats, according to media reports.
Ali Jaber, MBC’s director of television, questioned why the Qatari channel was attacking the show and inciting violence against MBC’s employees.
“This is not the first time we face criticism or even threats at MBC; however our position has been and will always be (to confront) extremism in all shapes and forms,” he said to Arab News.
“What is yet to be understood is why this upsets critics? What are they trying to say? That Daesh should not be criticized and condemned every day and in every way possible? What is their interest? This is particularly strange since we should all be aligned when it comes to countering extremist ideology,” he added. “Fifteen of our colleagues were killed over the past decades but it never deterred us from doing the right thing be it against Sunni or Shiite extremism.”
Qatar media’s reaction to the show at a time when six Middle East countries have cut ties with Qatar over reasons including the support of extremism raises further suspicions of the country’s stance. As journalist Abdel Latif El-Menawy, the former head of Egypt’s state TV news said, Qatar had been “furiously attacking” its neighbors in the Gulf and that Al-Jazeera TV channel had “unintentionally revealed its true positions” in its attack on the MBC series.
A version of this article originally appeared on Arab News.