The deletion of the French-speaking Algerian newspaper, El Watan, of the minaret of the Grand Mosque from its cover photo, dedicated to covering the funeral of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, sparked widespread controversy on social media in Algeria.
Al-Watan newspaper published in its Monday edition a picture showing the passing of the funeral of dear President Bouteflika, and attached the picture with a headline about the funeral, in which it said, “A minimum funeral.”
But social media users in Algeria noticed the absence of the minaret of the Great Mosque from the background of the photo taken in the Mohammedia area of the capital.
Against the background of the news, activists launched the hashtag #Algeria_Greatest_Mosque_My Identity, denouncing the newspaper’s action.
Tweeters circulated photos showing the photo before the modification, as published by international media.
Many published pictures of the mosque, describing it as a beacon of scientific and intellectual radiation.
Many accused El Watan of trying to blur the “Islamic identity of Algerians”.
In response to the controversy, I issued Algerian Ministry of Communication statement In it, she described the removal of the Al-Watan newspaper as a “blatant attack” on the legislative laws of the republic that protect the design, shape and architectural plan of the Mosque of Algiers, and a “violation of the ethics of the profession and a deviation from the rules of professionalism.”
The ministry said that it “reserves its full right to carry out the judicial follow-ups required by the situation.”
Later, Al-Watan newspaper issued a statement apologizing to its readers for what happened, describing what happened as a “technical” mistake.
The newspaper stressed that “the purely technical incident has nothing to do with any ideological calculations, as circles known for their hostility to the homeland are trying to extract.”
On the other hand, the incident of “absence of the minaret” brought back some talk about “the benefit of building a large mosque in light of the death of some due to lack of oxygen and the presence of many poor and deprived people who are not seen by anyone.”
Another tweet considered that despite her rejection of the newspaper’s action, she is against reducing identity to it, asking: “I mean, before the mosque was built, we were without identity?”