A leading Hamas preacher was caught on tape saying that a BBC correspondent slants his reports to favor Muslims. A story in the Israeli daily Haaretz reports Fathi Hamad, a preacher responsible for Hamas’ communications system in Gaza, said: “Hamas man Faiz Abu Smala works for the BBC, ‘and that way he writes the story in favor of the Islam [sic] and Muslims'” (Arnon Regular, “Leading Hamas preacher warns of clash with Islamic Jihad,” 12/15/04).
Hamad made the statement during a speech before the Hamas body responsible for promoting the organization in the international press. According to the report, “Hamad believed that he was speaking in a private closed forum, but the session was filmed and then distributed – a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz.”
While there is no independent confirmation that anyone named “Faiz Abu Smala” works for the BBC, a longtime BBC Arabic Service reporter in Gaza is named “Fayad Abu Shamala.” Shamala made headlines in 2001 when, speaking at a Hamas gathering, he said journalists and media organizations are “waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people” (Jerusalem Post, 5/24/01).
CAMERA has contacted the BBC regarding Hamad’s remarks about the BBC correspondent, but has yet to hear back from them.