This tweet by an official Saudi propaganda account @Infographic_ksa has now been deleted.— Elizabeth Tsurkov (@Elizrael) August 6, 2018
Seems they realized that reminding us that 15 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi is not a great idea. pic.twitter.com/N82QbVIpTi
The account that originally tweeted the disturbing content has since apologized for doing so. "The aircraft was intended to symbolize the return of the ambassador," they explained in a statement. "We realize this was not clear and any other meaning was unintentional."
It seems a Twitter account that produces content with a pro-Saudi bias took things too far, creating an image that was reminiscent in ways to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, in a threatening tweet toward Canada.
The now-deleted message was screenshot and shared by Elizabeth Tsurkov, a human rights writer who shared the tweet to highlight the distasteful message it seemed to be sending.
The tweet from @Infographic_ksa, which bills itself as a “voluntary non-profit project...managed by a group of Saudi youth,” has wording that condemns Canada for “Sticking [its] nose where it doesn't belong!” This is likely referring to Canada’s foreign ministry condemning Saudi Arabia arresting political activists within that nation. Saudi Arabia, in response, ordered the Canadian ambassador to leave the country.
In the background of the tweeted picture, @Infographic_ksa has an image of an airplane, approaching Toronto’s CN Tower, a visual that brings to mind the events of what happened 17 years ago in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. A caption in the lower half of the image reads, “As the Arabic saying goes: ‘He who interferes with what doesn't concern him finds what doesn't please him,’” appearing at face value to be a threat of some kind.
Tsurkov reminded us in her own tweet commenting on the social media post that it’s “not a great idea” to remind people that most of the airline hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia.
Even if @Infographic_ksa’s tweet wasn’t intentionally threatening, it was still an irresponsible way to convey their support of Saudi Arabia’s moves against Canada. While Canada was speaking up against human rights abuses, this account determined the best way to respond was to remind them that meddling in their own nation’s business was ill-advised — using a picture of a plane seemingly heading on a crash-course with a well-known Canadian landmark to make their point.
The managers of that account rightly took the tweet down, deleting it for its poor taste. They should have exercised more restraint to begin with, however, and ought to temper down their future tweets as well. Debate and disagreements are sometimes unavoidable — but threatening violence over otherwise benign statements is never necessary.
Banner/thumbnail image credit: Faisal Nasser/Reuters