It's time for part 47 billion of our 219-quintillion-part series on fiction passed off as news. This time, we're focusing on that most lighthearted and adorably jaunty of subjects: ISIS & Friends, who are the evil flavor of the month. For the busy reader on the go, any headline about how they're evil, cruel barbarians is bound to get a few clicks. But it turns out a lot of those scary terrorist stories are about as legit as the plot of a Goosebumps book.
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Female genital mutilation (FGM) is one of the most horrific and dehumanizing things anyone can subject a woman to, and it's absolutely a thing people do, mainly in Africa and the Middle East. The World Health organization estimates that over 125 million women have endured this torture.
So when sites like NBC News, The Huffington Post, the NY Daily News, and Al Arabiya reported that ISIS issued a fatwa ordering four million Iraqi women and girls between 11 and 46 years of age to get themselves cut up down there, it sadly made sense. This sounds like something those women-hating bastards would do, right?
For reference, that is about 200,000 more than the entire population of Baghdad.
Just one problem: They're not doing that. Despite being backed by the UN's wonderfully-named Jacqueline Badcock, the entire story is based on one document, supposedly released by ISIS in July 2014, but probably a hoax designed to make ISIS look bad (because they need the help, apparently).
"But it's in Arabic. Who else could possibly know that language other than them?"
The document was eventually traced back to July 2013 -- we're fairly certain that ISIS wouldn't wait a whole year before deciding that Allah's word was finally right to release. Then there's the typos, the language botches, not to mention how whoever wrote this thing signed it as "The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant," a name ISIS abandoned long ago.
If that's not enough, FGM is not a required thing in Islam -- not even the butchered, corrupted, violent interpretation of the religion that ISIS prefers -- and is rarely practiced in Iraq, where this is supposedly going down. All in all, the media claiming ISIS wrote this chicken scratch is a bigger fuck-up than when that one guy called Whitney Houston "Susan."
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As mean and vicious as ISIS is, at least they're pulling their bullshit far from the good 'ol US of A. They can't hurt us from thousands of miles aw-OH SHIT THEY'RE HERE! RUN!
"Williamsburg resident claims to have been into ISIS before it was cool."
As the New York Post, College Fix, Inquisitr, NBC News (yes, them again), and The Atlantic have breathlessly pointed out, ISIS plots in the US happen all the time now. Between a woman in Philadelphia, four men in Texas, an Illinois Army National Guardsman and his cousin, some assholes from New York City, and the recent shooting in Garland, Texas over drawings of the Prophet Muhammad, the message is clear: The enemy has arrived, and your backyard is not safe.
Oh wait, we read our notes wrong. You're as safe as ever, because these stories are bogus. Silly us.
Every single case of "ISIS invading America" has in fact been a rogue American who only showed interest in joining ISIS (presumably for the sweet dental plan), but had zero actual connection to them.
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"My uncle knows a guy, who's friends with a dude, that has a car that is the
same model as one they used in a bombing. We're practically in."
Those New Yorkers were harmless idiots whose future in Islamic terror hinged on Mommy giving them back their passport. The National Guardsman? He wasn't plotting to "kill scores at [his] military base", he was trying to board a plane to Cairo and apply for ISIS there. His cousin simply drove him to the airport. And the four morons in Texas? That was 100-percent made up by Judicial Watch, a neoconservative site filled with racist tall tales that should be disregarded on sight every time.
But what of the Garland shooting, you ask? That was real, right? Yup, but despite ISIS's own claims of responsibility, the FBI can find no evidence whatsoever that the two shooters had any connection to the group. All signs point to them acting on their own accord, with ISIS merely piggybacking on their sudden infamy. Remember, clickbaiters aren't the only ones who stand to gain from Americans pissing themselves over thoughts of a future filled with car bombs.
OK, now you've gone too far, ISIS. It's one thing to blow up religious monuments and kill innocents, but now you've invaded Luke Skywalker's beloved childhood home? What kind of monsters are you?
Yes, the terror group has claimed the Tunisian town of Tataouine -- creatively re-dubbed "Tatooine" by George Lucas and used as inspiration while filming Star Wars nearby-- and is using it as a base of operations while preparing to invade nearby Libya. News crews from The AV Club, CNN, IBTimes, and The Huffington Post not only have a bad feeling about this; they want to make damn sure you do too.
"According to one source, 'You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.'"
And these dirty jihadists aren't just sitting around Uncle Owen's house and quoting their favorite Jar-Jar lines. No, they're stockpiling weapons and ammunition. It's an act brazen and cold enough to shame even the Emperor himself.
Or rather, it would be if it were in any way true. All this talk about a "way station for terrorists" is based on exactly one incident. Three prospective terrorists (they weren't even hired yet) were arrested trying to enter Libya through Tataouine. That's it. From that one event that barely even qualifies as a molehill, CNN and others built an entire mountain of pop-culture-based fear mongering.
"Molehills? Or underground terrorist network tunnels? Read our seven-part investigation to decide."
It got to the point where Colonel Mokhtar Hammami of the Tunisian National Guard stepped in to confirm that the stories were bullshit. According to him, over 1500 troops scour the region constantly, and there have been no reports of terror bases nearby. Meaning CNN is more full of shit than anyone who argues Attack Of The Clones was awesome, and that you and your buddies going on pilgrimages to Force Choke one another in front of a Jawa cave will likely yield nothing but pictures that your Facebook friends will ignore.
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OK, so ISIS isn't invading the Land Made For You And Me. But they could at any time, because according to The Blaze and The Washington Times, there is a sizable group of Islamic terrorists operating in Chihuahua, Mexico, just miles from the Texas border.
If that's not enough to keep you cowering in your basement forever, these sites are reporting that Mexican drug bandits are helping to move terrorists from Mexico to both New Mexico and Texas. What's more, these fence-jumping jihadists are already considering American schools, American government buildings, and American power plants as candidates for getting blown up. Shit, we better hide now! And raise that border fence until it reaches the exosphere, stat!
Or don't. Because in a surprising twist, both The Blaze and The Washington Times are awful. After investigation, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that there are no ISIS camps anywhere near the border. NONE. As he put it, likely while dreaming of bourbon therapy later that night, "It frustrates me ... because my folks have to run out such things, because we do run out every tip to make sure there isn't something to it. There is nothing to it."
"I saw them! They was brown and speaking not-English."
"You mean Spanish?"
Other notable names that call bullshit include the Mexican Embassy, the National Security Council, the US State Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and Politifact. So who the fuck spun this web anyway? Why, Judicial Watch, of course! As we mentioned earlier, this is the worst site in the world -- an anti-everybody (unless they're straight, white, and male) bullshit factory whose only sources are its writers' imaginations. In this case, they dreamed that ISIS was mere moments away from breaking into the House That Reagan Built, and so they told the world. And the world believed them, including Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon, despite their basis being less "hard evidence" and more "here's something else to blame Obama for."
But enough about ISIS; let's talk about other media-induced fibs fueled by casual Islamophobia. Like the story, going around via sites such as the Mirror, Deccan Chronicle, and Examiner, that Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, has given the thumbs-up to husbands eating their wives. And not in the fun way. The burger way.
According to the story, bin Abdullah issued the pro-cannibalism fatwa under the rationale that husbands eating their wives would allow the two bodies and souls to truly become one. At least until he poops her out. But -- and this is important -- the husband is only allowed to eat his wife if he is suffering from "extreme hunger." And you thought this guy was being unreasonable.
"The takeout place closed at 10. What do you expect him to do?"
So is it real? Of course not! As Saudi authorities pointed out (in both English and Arabic), the supposed fatwa never once appeared on bin Abdullah's website, as any official decree would. It simply showed up on social media, attributed to him and unquestioned by the outraged masses, like a more monstrous version of slapping Marilyn Monroe's face next to something she didn't say.
So where did it come from, then? Nobody knows for sure, though bin Abdullah believes it might be the work of Iran or some other outside enemy who wished to make him look bad. Because a guy who wants all churches destroyed and for 10-year-old girls to marry needs the help.
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As you've probably long figured out, countries like Saudi Arabia deal with women worse than a first-grader petrified of cooties. You'd think the absolute last thing they would allow within their borders would be something like a sex shop. Well, according to The Huffington Post, IBTimes, the Metro, The Independent, and the Malaysian Digest, the Saudis are about to do exactly that. A man named Abdelaziz Aouragh, who already owns a halal sex shop in the Netherlands, is about to expand his empire and open one in Saudi fucking Arabia.
"Well the whole 'fucking' thing is kind of the point."
Obviously, for a society where women risk a public flogging for showing too much wrist, a porn store must be like learning basic addition one day, advanced calculus the next. But according to these reports, Aouragh's shop will be 100-percent Islam-compliant, as in "no dolls or vibrators." They will only sell "products that increase feelings of sensuality and improve the atmosphere between the couple in [their] sexual relationship."
Are you confused about what the hell that might mean? Well, it doesn't matter, because this store isn't happening. Shockingly, the media heard the word "sex," aimed for maximum clicks, and never bothered to check the source. Because if they had, they would've discovered Aouragh would simply like to open a sex shop ... somewhere. He actually doesn't have a store -- in the Netherlands or anywhere else. All he has is a very particular set of erotic products designed for the modern Muslim that other stores sell. None of which are in Saudi Arabia.
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"Are you sure they don't have one in the other Mecca? Isn't it like Disney World/land with those?"
In fact, when the website France 24 spoke with Aouragh, he made it perfectly clear: "I have been to Mecca numerous times, but I have never once contacted Saudi authorities about selling my brand there ... that is complete fiction." Furthermore, he rejected the very idea of a halal sex shop, saying, "A sex shop itself can't be halal," since very few sex shop objects would be permissible under Muslim law.
So a guy sells a few erotic products and would like to maybe someday perhaps have his own store, one that follows the Muslim rules of decency. And the media turned that into "sex shop opening in Saudi Arabia!" What'll you say next, clickbaiters? That ISIS is opening up a porn studio on the Mexico-US border?
We should probably stop giving people ideas.
Jason can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and in a sex shop near you. If his mom is reading this, he didn't mean sex shop. He meant flower shop. Where he's buying flowers for his mom. Phew, that was close.