The story begins with an interview request for Kevork Almassian, who lives in Berlin. Almassian, a Syrian refugee who came to Germany in late 2015 and who is a recognized refugee, is working legally as employee of the AfD MP Markus Frohnmaier.
Almassian had to leave Syria since he and his family were threatened by Islamist supporters of the terrorist gangs which fight against the Syrian army. Almassian is a well known journalist and video blogger in the Middle East. His mission: To defend his motherland Syria as a secular state, not letting it become an Islamist caliphate. The family Almassian has had to pay a high price for Kevork’s activities: His brother got kidnapped by Islamists, and the family had to pay a $12 000 ransom to get him back alive.
Kevork Almassian is the ideal boogeyman for Islamist extremists: He is a young academic of Armenian ethnicity – which already suggests that his grand parents were survivors of the Armenian genocide which took place under the rule of the Ottoman Empire in 1915, counting approximately 1,5 million victims.
He is a Christian and a modern secularist. In a peaceful Syria, he would have enjoyed the fruits of a successful academic career. The so-called “Arab Spring” in 2011 destroyed the lives of many young secular and non-Islamist citizens in Arab countries.
After his arrival in Germany, Almassian never thought of keeping his silence. He offered to cooperate with all political forces. Only the eurosceptic AfD showed interest in him. Almassian learned German quickly, and soon started working. He was eventually hired as a social media expert by AfD MP Markus Frohnmaier.
The former head of the AfD youth organisation “Junge Alternative” Frohnmaier and Almassian became friends, since they are both dedicated to sound arguments as well as being outspoken – neither are your average liberal snowflakes.
While working in Frohnmaier’s Bundestag office, Almassian frequently published a very popular video news blog on Youtube called “Syriana Analysis”. It would only be a matter of time before Kevork Almassian, the Syrian refugee working for Germany’s rightwing opposition party, got targeted by the German media.
The polite request for an interview came from journalists of the news portal t-online and the TV magazine “Kontraste”.
The alliance of the private online media and the political state media TV magazine has been running anti-AfD campaigns for years. In fact, t-online, the former internet provider of Telekom, is currently Germany’s biggest news portal, and is owned and published by digital multi-channel media company Ströer. It has over 179 million visitors per month.
“Kontraste” is a monthly state-sponsored political magazine essentially funded by taxpayers. Such private-public “research cooperation” projects are highly controversial since there is no transparency.
Former editor-in-chief of German news magazine Der Spiegel, Klaus Brinkbäumer, criticized such cooperation harshly in 2018, because he suspected “cross-subsidization” of private media competition with state media support. Today we know for sure: The cooperation between t-online and “Kontraste” created one of Germany’s strongest and biggest media instruments, ready to launch any nefarious political campaign.
For almost two hours, Almassian patiently answered the questions of the journalists, explaining the situation in Syria, the dangers of religious and political extremism and how grateful he is to be safe in Germany. The young Syrian academic is certainly no hate preacher or motormouth. The outcome of these interviews were two articles on t-online and a report in “Kontraste”, targeting Almassian as someone who entered Germany illegally, who is an “Assad propagandist working for the anti-migrant AfD”, and a real threat to other refugees.
After the first article was published on t-online and “Kontraste” aired the report – both happened on the same day – the journalists launched their hate campaign against the Syrian refugee on social media. “Adopt a Revolution”, a questionable left-liberal NGO, that supports Islamist “rebels” in Syria, started bombarding the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, BAMF, with queries about Almassian. The aim of the campaign was clearly to strip Almassian of his refugee status.
Enter Nahla Osman, a female Syrian lawyer with a German passport who happens to be a notorious and vocal supporter of what she calls the “Syrian Revolution”. Osman gained some popularity within Islamist refugee circles in the last years, as she offers her services to migrants when it comes to legal problems about family reunion and residence status.
Osman is without a doubt, one of the profiteers who too advantage of Angela Merkel’s 2015 open-border policy. In a Facebook post she was asked about what future to expect in Germany as a refugee. Osman’s answer: “You will become a citizen.”
Thus Nahla Osman pretends to be a strong human right’s defender – except when it comes to Almassian. The Syrian lawyer unleashed an online campaign against the real Syrian refugee, inciting her audience to put pressure on the BAMF to act against Kevork Almassian.
The second article on t-online, written by the same journalist, had the same headline as the first one: “Syrians demand review of AfD-refugee”. The main testimonial from the article came from lawyer Nahla Osman. She spoke about how “upset” the Syrian community was about Almassian’s refugee status, and that an “Assad-fan” could be accepted in Germany.
What the article failed to mention however, was that the whole campaign had been manufactured by Osman, “Adopt a Revolution” and t-online themselves. There was no campaign fueled by so-called refugee sentiment. Instead there was only the t-online journalists displaying their prejudice.
But the article fails to mention something else as well: Nahla Osman is a notorious Islamist, a vocal supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology, of sectarian hatred and someone who is obviously in deep conflict with the basic rules set out by the German constitution – quite a problematic stance for a lawyer in Germany.
How did Nahla Osman fool t-online? Did she pretend to hold other views rather than her own? Was it impossible for the t-online journalist to notice the Islamist hatred spouted by Nahla Osman?
The fact is, Nahla Osman is promoting her ideology very openly on social media. It takes only some minutes and a few mouse clicks to see the full picture. Some examples are:
On February 2, Osman commemorated the so-called “Massacre of Hama”, a military operation of the Syrian government in 1982 against the Muslim Brotherhood which had its stronghold in Hama. Osman comments: “We will never forget. We won’t forgive.” Is this a threat? Against who? And who is “we”? The Muslim Brotherhood? No other explanation would make any sense.
On May 30, 2017, Nahla Osman posted a propaganda picture of the Islamist terrorist Abdulbasset Sarout, a former ISIS fighter.
In fact, there are photos available in which Sarout poses with the black jihadist flag of the terrorists.
On November 18, 2013 Osman commemorated the slain leader of an Islamist terrorist group called “Tawhid Brigade”.
These are just three examples of public sympathy for terrorist forces. One could argue that sympathies for Muslim Brotherhood in Germany is fine, but the German domestic secret service, the Verfassungsschutz, has listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a danger to the German state order. Officials of German security agencies see the Muslim Brotherhood as an organisation which “contradicts the liberal democratic order”.
Burkhard Freier, head of the Verfassungsschutz in the federal country of North Rhine-Westphalia, stated that “the ultimate goal” of the group was the “creation of an Islamist theocracy” in Germany. The officials of the agencies even see a bigger danger for democracy in the Muslim Brotherhood than in Salafi groups like Islamic State or Al-Qaeda.
Nahla Osman seems to be a devoted Muslim Brotherhood propagandist and presents her sectarian hatred on social media. She likes posts by Sunni radicals who write that Assad followers “look like pigs”. In another post she liked, Kevork Almassian is called an “agent of the Syrian secret service” – a claim without any evidence but which stigmatizes the young Syrian refugee as a future target of Islamist terrorists.
The campaign t-online and Osman unleashed against Almassian escalated quickly on social media into racist and hate speech orgies targeting the writer. Radical Sunni Twitter and Facebook users even openly deplore that Almassian’s grandparents survived the genocide, Armenians are called “sectarian dogs” and “minority dirt” which should be “thrown into the sea”.
Nahla Osman appears to revel in such racist rants, and t-online does not seem to feel the slightest responsibility. Perhaps German journalists do not know who Nahla Osman really is and are unaware of the danger their manufactured story in cooperation with an Islamist extremist lawyer pose.