A French-speaking Algerian daily found itself under fire on Monday, September 20 for having published a retouched photo obscuring the minaret of the Great Mosque of Algiers.
The photo, published by the newspaper El Watan, showed the passage of the funeral convoy of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, buried on Sunday, but the imposing minaret of the Great Mosque of Algiers in the background had been removed, arousing strong criticism from outraged Internet users on the networks social.
Apologies for “a technical incident”
Faced with this outcry, the French-language daily apologized on its site, citing a “unfortunate technical treatment at the DTP (desktop publishing) department of the newspaper“. He assured that it was “a purely technical incident (which) has nothing to do with any ideological calculation how the circles known for their hostility to El Watan try to distill it“.
The Ministry of Communication denounced a “strange and unwarranted behavior” and an “flagrant violation of laws“Governing the Great Mosque of Algiers, condemning”firmly and clearly»The removal of the minaret.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs, for its part, estimated in a statement that the publication of this photo constituted “a violation which should give rise to administrative measures and legal proceedings“. The president of the Mouvement de la société pour la paix (MSP), the main Islamist party in Algeria, Abderrezak Makri, for his part denounced on his Facebook page a “hatred towards the symbols of the muslim religion“.
Tallest in the world
The minaret of the Great Mosque of Algiers is the tallest in the world. It overlooks the bay of Algiers and rises to 267 meters, or 43 floors served by panoramic elevators. Mega emblematic project of Bouteflika, ousted from power in 2019, the Great Mosque sparked a lively controversy in Algeria due in particular to its cost (more than 750 million euros), considered exorbitant.
Became president in 1999, at the end of the black decade of civil war (1992-2002, 200,000 dead) and ousted from power in 2019, Bouteflika passed away on September 17 at the age of 84.