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Empowering Advocacy: SAMNET launches social media training to counter negative media and Zionist propaganda

Azra Hoosen | ah@radioislam.co.za
16 April 2024 | 13:30 CAT
3 min read

The South African Muslim Network (SAMNET) is taking proactive steps to arm volunteers with the necessary skills and strategies to confront Zionist propaganda on social media.

Dr Faisal Suliman, Chairperson of SAMNET, provides insight into the forthcoming training initiative aimed at empowering individuals to utilise platforms like X (formerly known as Twitter), Facebook, and others to combat misinformation and shed light on human rights violations in Palestine and other regions.

Speaking to Radio Islam, Suliman emphasised that in many internal Muslim WhatsApp groups, whether they are family, casual chats, or social circles, there’s a recurring frustration and repeated postings over the events in Gaza, yet little action is taken.

“People are posting on internal WhatsApp groups, which, Alhamdulillah, we have to educate, but it is preaching to the highly converted. Why not transfer some of that time and energy into taking some of those videos and proper quotations in the fora where non-Muslims, church leaders, people on the board and Zionists on a mission. It is not like they don’t know right from wrong, but their aims are much bigger, and they have nefarious agendas,” he said.

Suliman emphasised the lack of insight into the content aired on a Jewish radio station, Chai FM, which broadcasts to Greater Johannesburg on the frequency of 101.9 FM. He expressed concern that it may perpetuate negative narratives about Islam, Muslims, Palestinians, and Islamophobia, yet without knowledge of their content, it remains uncertain.

“We need a volunteer to sit down and say they can listen to the station for a certain amount of time, and if they hear something wrong, such as Islamophobia or incitement of violence, they should WhatsApp SAMNET about what was said. Then, it is our job to take it forward. But we need to monitor and then be able to react,” he said.

Suliman pointed out the tragic incident that happened on Eid day in Palestine, where the Israelis massacred the three sons and grandchildren of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh with a rocket strike. He noted that while Times Live published an article about the incident the following day, the accompanying photo depicted Ismail Haniyeh at a political rally, which he believes misrepresents the gravity of the situation.

“That picture was totally out of context but not by mistake; it was designed not to invoke empathy or sympathy but to portray the image showing an aggressive man, almost to say in the subconscious of the reader, that he looks like a terrorist. We needed 5000 tweets to go to Times Live to say to the Press Ombudsman that this is not acceptable; this is how we not only tackle the narrative on Gaza and on Israel but also get our influence,” said Suliman.

Suliman expressed the desire for the public to engage with the Department of Health via Twitter, questioning their stance on banning headscarves for nurses on duty and criticising the Department of Basic Education for pushing a transgender agenda on young children, likening it to exposing them to soft porn. Suliman emphasised the importance of mobilising thousands of tweets to hold ministers accountable for their actions, highlighting the power of collective action regardless of age.

“We don’t have the billions that the Zionists at their propaganda machinery, but we need volunteers, and we at SAMNET will help train you how to do it,” he said.

Suliman said that they plan to hold face-to-face training sessions if there is sufficient interest from groups at the SAMNET office in Durban, situated at Mohammedeya Center 2 on 263 Sparks Rd. Additionally, they will organise Zoom sessions for training purposes. Interested individuals will be added to a WhatsApp group where relevant information and tweet suggestions will be shared.

Suliman emphasised the importance of maintaining a calm and composed tone in tweets. Effective communication doesn’t necessarily involve shouting or aggression but rather making the point clearly and respectfully to avoid any potential repercussions.

For further information, individuals can contact SAMNET via email at info@samnet.co.za or WhatsApp at +27 84 333 3979.

LISTEN to the full interview with Ml Junaid Kharsany and Dr Faisal Suliman, SAMNET Chairperson, here. 

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