Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Yemen journalist gets threats after report on Jews

Yemeni journalist Anwar al-Ansi, who now lives in London, has sought the Yemen authorities' help in finding the source of threats he has received. People have been throwing stones at his house in Sa'ana, and asking questions about him, leading al-Ansi to fear for the safety of his family. Al-Ansi believes the threats are a response to a news report he once filed stating that that followers of the rebel Abdul-Malik al-Houthi in the north of Yemen had driven out the local Jews. From this piece in The Yemen Observer it seems the al-Houthi were not the only tribe to want the Jews out.

"“I have the report documented, pictures and sound, and I spoke to some sheikhs in Sa’ada who said that if the government does not remove the Jews from that area they would support al-Houthi. They demanded this because, as they said, they don’t like their (the Jews') conduct and their behavior—mainly, their alleged selling of wine,” said al-Ansi. “Later on, these people changed what they said when things got heated between the government and al-Houthi.”

"In his report, al-Ansi talked with the Deputy of the Governorate of Sa’ada, who said that not only al-Houthi wanted the Jews out, but all the other tribes as well. This is because they think that they are drinking and making wines and alcohol. Also, female Jews are seen talking to the local young people, and the tribes are afraid that this will distort the city’s morals, he said. Al-Ansi said that the report that he wrote was not liked by the government, nor by al-Houthi followers, who accused him of instigating the government against them. His house was attacked twice before, on January 26 and February 4, 2007.

"Now, he has received news from home that there are people that are hovering around his house asking questions, and this led him to send his recent message through to reveal his suffering and agony, hoping the authorities will do something in order to stop these threats. He has sent a letter to the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate to demand their solidarity or to seek action, and said believes that they will issue a statement denouncing the attacks. Al-Ansi is now a correspondent for Reuters TV."

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