Who is Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi? After the Boston terror bombings on Monday, April 15, Americans were told that the Saudi student was injured in the blasts orchestrated by Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Then we were told that the man was cleared — despite numerous bags being taken from his home that night.
Fast forward to Wednesday, when president Obama met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. The meeting was not on his schedule.
U.S. President Barack Obama met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal at the White House on Wednesday and discussed the conflict in Syria, a spokeswoman said.
The meeting was not on Obama’s public schedule.
The spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden, said the president joined a meeting between the Saudi official and Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon.
Syria? The conflict that has been going on for months? What could be going on in Syria that would require an unscheduled meeting with President Obama that Secretary of State John Kerry couldn’t handle? Nothing.
The media did human interest stories on eight-year-old Martin Richard. It told us about Krystal Campbell. It filled us in on 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, who went to Boston University to study statistics. And even though he didn’t die, it just doesn’t feel as though the media was not really interested in finding out anything about Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi. His Facebook page is readily available, so wouldn’t reporters at least do a cursory run though it?
Here’s what I found:
One of his “likes” include Ghazi Abdul Rahman Al Gosaibi — who was fired from his position as The Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom for praising Palestinian suicide bombers (on the front page of the London-based Arabic newspaper, no less).
The Foreign Office is to rebuke Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to London over a poem he wrote praising Palestinian suicide bombers as martyrs who “died to honour God’s word”.
In his verse which appeared on the front page of the London-based al-Hayat,Ghazi Algosaibi singled out Ayat Akhras, a Palestinian girl who blew herself up in Jerusalem last month, and said the gates of heaven were opened for her.
He also attacked the United States, the main protector of the Saudi kingdom, writing: “We complained to the idols of a White House whose heart is filled with darkness.” …
The poem drew strong criticism from Jewish groups.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews said it was “appalled” by the poem and planned to send a letter of protest to the ambassador.
“It is deeply disturbing that a senior Saudi diplomat publicly supports the continued terrorist bombing campaign,” said spokeswoman Fiona Macaulay.
“This is clearly condoning violence against Jewish people, and is a completely unacceptable position for the ambassador to take.”
How does this square with news coverage at the time of his death, where he was portrayed as a moderate?
Married to a German woman, Gosaibi was popular in the west, and served as ambassador to Britain from 1992 to 2002. In Saudi Arabia he fought for women’s rights, but failed to win their right to drive, a highly symbolic issue. He attacked Islamist militants in his many books of non-fiction, his novels and poetry. He gave his views on Osama bin Laden in a speech at Westminster University in 2002. “Listening to him,” he said, “in some of his rambling interviews, I had the impression of a madman who thought he had defeated one superpower and was about to defeat the remaining superpower.
We don’t know the answer because these are not the stories the media wants to explore. Maybe Mr. Gosaibi is “moderate” like Samira Ibrahim is moderate — the woman whom the White House was going to honor with the “Women of Courage” award before it turned out she liked to Tweet the approval of suicide bombings.
What if a white male student was injured in the Boston blast on April 15, and his Facebook page included a “like” for a well-known individual who just-so-happened to approve of terrorism if the setting was right (e.g., I love America, but the “gates of heaven” will still open up for Timothy McVeigh)?
Do you think Salon would cover it? Given that David Sirota wrote a piece titled “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American,” I think the Magic 8 ball would reply “yes.”
If Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi is deported and details emerge that would have prevented any sane government from allowing that to happen, it will be a serious blow to whatever credibility media have left.