Imam Tawhidi: Why I Write for The Times of Israel Despite the Cost and Criticizm

Your Favorite Imam.

“You’re a Muslim Imam, how dare you write for the Times of Israel?”

“Why would you write for such website? I bet they pay you well!”

Those are just two examples of the tens of comments I receive after almost every article I submit to this website. While many non-Muslims see it as me simply writing an article and doing nothing more than expressing myself, most Muslims and just about every nation the Middle East see it differently. It is seen as “approving of an Israeli platform and giving it legitimacy.”

It’s worth mentioning that in the past I have submitted articles to many platforms, including The Huffington Post. But why have I recently chosen the Times of Israel to be my main platform for articles is a question I am about to answer.

And no, The Times of Israel doesn’t pay me a dollar. Not even a cent. Neither does The Mossad. (I thought I’d mention that too).

Reaching the Right People

As a peace advocate, the topic of Israel vs. Palestine is mentioned in just about every single event I participate in. As an ‘Imam of Peace,’ I believe in dialogue. My life revolves around dialogue, understanding and accepting others the way they are; without the need to change them or their religious beliefs.

I believe that Israelis and the Jewish community have heard enough from Hamas and the hate-preaching Imams that pray for their annihilation. If Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad have a voice, why can’t I?

Therefore, I wish to be heard. I wish to represent the peace and tolerance that my growing community promotes, but is ignored by the media. I want the Jewish people to hear me say: I am your brother in humanity.

A Significant Audience

I have noticed that the majority of those who visit The Times of Israel and share its articles on social media platforms are balanced, educated and rational people. This is a community that believes in facts and genuine perspectives. This website doesn’t promote any content that can be considered a conspiracy. It is a clean, well-structured platform with a wonderful audience (many of whom I personally know). It is where I want to be: In the center. Among a community of good writers.

They Can’t Be Bribed by Qatar

According to a recent piece by Dr. Oren Litwin, an expert on Islamist groups and comparative politics: One of the duties of Mohammed Al-Masnad, Qatar’s Chief of Intelligence, is to bribe reporters and politicians in order to sanitize the image of Qatar.

Dr. Litwin states that: “The Qatari spymaster claimed that he controlled a vast bribery operation targeting public figures. Al-Masnad boasted, “No Western reporter or politicians would receive a dollar without my green light.”

On a personal level, I have recently had many difficulties with either journalists or editors when it comes to reporting about crimes linked to Qatar. For some reason, it never made it to the news.

The Times of Israel is an Israeli news website. Which means it’s the last organization Qatar, a Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood supporting state, would want to try and give money to. Not that The Times of Israel would accept their bribe, but it is an ideological barrier that I am sure they won’t want to cross.

I also know of a good number of those on The Times of Israel’s staff and editorial board. I’ve met a few of them as well. They’re not of the type that would accept bribes to silence me or anyone. I trust this website, and my editor(s), and they’ve never bothered with the ongoing campaigns to silence me.

Most Importantly: Freedom of Speech

At The Times of Israel, I can express myself freely. My words are never censored. This means everything to me and to my entire base and following. I have been heavily censored in the past, and I have had to stop writing for newspapers and or websites that block my articles for no reasonable reason.

At The Times of Israel, I truly feel the democracy that they represent. I can submit a response, article, investigation and news report and see it published within hours. All what my editor(s) expect from me is sources and professionalism; and those are the two pillars my writings have ALWAYS leant on.

About the Author
Imam Mohammad Tawhidi is a third-generation Iranian-born Australian Muslim imam and a publicly ordained Islamic authority who comes from a prominent Islamic lineage. His ancestors were the companions of Prophet Mohammad and played a significant role in the early Islamic conquests. He was born in the Holy City of Qum, Iran, into a spiritual family with a history of decades in the Islamic Seminary, and had memorised half of the Quran by the age of nine. Imam Tawhidi ended his relationship with the Iranian regime and continued his studies in the Holy Cities in Iraq. In 2014, ISIS conquered large parts of Iraq’s territory and murdered members of Tawhidi’s family. In 2015, Imam Tawhidi began to gradually call for reform within Muslim societies. His views have been broadcast on international media and have been met with both criticism and praise. He is seen as one of the main leading voices in the global movement of Islamic reform who has dedicated his life to ideologically tackling the spread of Islamic Extremism. Celebrated as the Imam of Peace, Tawhidi’s international activism against Islamic extremism has earned him a nomination for the 2019 Australian of the Year Awards.
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