Smear Campaign: The Devastating Story of Abu Dhabi’s Attack on Rokhaya Diallo Credibility

In a shocking revelation, French journalist Rokhaya Diallo has fallen victim to a malicious smear campaign orchestrated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Accused of affiliating with the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization according to the UAE, Diallo found herself subjected to violence and harassment as a result of these false allegations. The UAE reportedly went to the extent of hiring a private intelligence firm to gather information on numerous individuals and organizations in Europe, leading to severe consequences for the targeted victims.

Unveiling the Sinister Smear Campaign

Recent investigations by a French outlet have brought to light a vast and insidious smear campaign masterminded by the UAE against more than 1,000 individuals and hundreds of organizations across Europe. The UAE enlisted the services of Alp Services, a Geneva-based private intelligence firm, to collect information on individuals from 18 European countries between 2017 and 2020.

False Accusations of Ties to the Muslim Brotherhood

This smear campaign specifically targeted individuals by falsely associating them with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that the UAE has designated as a terrorist group. Among the victims of these baseless accusations was Rokhaya Diallo, a highly respected journalist renowned for her tireless work on women’s rights, combating Islamophobia, and addressing anti-Black racism in France. The accusation leveled against Diallo was not only deeply unfair but also lacked any foundation, leaving her exposed to threats and acts of violence.

Impact on Victims’ Lives

The consequences of the smear campaign have had severe repercussions for the individuals who were targeted. In addition to facing threats and harassment, some have been forced to flee their home countries, while others have suffered significant financial losses and damage to their reputations. The false association with the Muslim Brotherhood has raised concerns about their personal safety and the impact on their careers.

Mental Health Toll

For Diallo, the false association with the Muslim Brotherhood has taken a toll on her mental well-being. As one of the few prominent Muslim figures in the public eye, she has been deeply worried that her advocacy for women’s rights and LGBTQ rights could be discredited as a result of the smear campaign. The harassment and threats she received after being falsely targeted have only intensified her fears and made her feel more vulnerable.

Chilling Effect on Freedom of Expression

The smear campaign has had a chilling effect on journalists and activists, who now live in fear of being targeted and harassed for their important work. Diallo’s experience of having to reconsider her online presence and carefully choose her words reflects the broader implications for freedom of expression in an increasingly hostile digital environment.

Questioning the Legitimacy of the Campaign

Numerous individuals who were targeted have raised doubts about the legitimacy of the smear campaign, expressing concerns about the selection process. Many argue that the campaign simply copied a list of individuals previously targeted by far-right groups, further underscoring the lack of credibility behind these efforts.

Additional Victims of the Campaign

The smear campaign targeted a diverse range of individuals from various fields, including Heshmat Khalifa, a member of the board of trustees for Islamic Relief Worldwide, and political scientist Fouad Gandoul. Both of them were wrongly accused and faced severe consequences that significantly impacted their professional lives.

Resilience and the Pursuit of Protection

Despite the distressing circumstances, Diallo remains unwavering in her commitment to her journalistic work. She actively seeks protection from international organizations that support journalists at risk and takes numerous measures to safeguard herself both physically and digitally.

 The UAE’s smear campaign, which falsely accused innocent individuals of affiliations with the Muslim Brotherhood, has had catastrophic consequences. Journalist Rokhaya Diallo’s story sheds light on the urgent need to protect freedom of expression and ensure the safety of journalists and activists worldwide. Such campaigns can have far-reaching effects, not only on mental health but also on professional careers. It is imperative for governments, organizations, and individuals to come together in condemning and addressing these attacks on press freedom and individual rights.

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