Sat, Jan 20, 2007 at 10:18:44 am
Judea Pearl has a good piece on the media arm of the global jihad, Al Jazeera: Another perspective, or jihad TV?
LOS ANGELES: In late 2001, three months before my son, the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was kidnapped, he interviewed the influential Qatari cleric Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and asked him about suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. The sheik replied with a novel twist of logic. “Israeli society in general is armed,” he said, implying that Israeli civilians — including women and children, doctors and journalists — are legitimate targets.
At the time, it was still surprising to see an authoritative Muslim cleric give religious license to the ideology of terror. Daniel would fall victim to that ideology when he was abducted and murdered in Pakistan.
After his death, I discovered that Sheik Qaradawi is the host of a weekly program on the Qatar-based TV news network Al Jazeera called “Sharia and Life.” He uses this forum to preach to millions of Arabic- speaking viewers, including Hamas operatives, Al Qaeda recruits, schoolteachers and impressionable Muslim youths.
“We have the ‘children bomb,’ and these human bombs must continue until liberation,” he told his audience in 2002. Consistent with this logic and morality, Sheik Qaradawi later extended his blessing to suicide bombing against American civilians in Iraq.
A few in the Arab world have taken issue with his calls for violence. Al Ittihad, a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, editorialized in 2004 that the beheading of two American hostages in Iraq happened “in direct response to Qaradawi’s fatwa and incitement, which permits the killing of American civilians.” Yet few, in the Middle East or the West, seem willing to condemn Al Jazeera’s management for giving the cleric regular airtime.
None of this might seem to matter much to Westerners except that for two months now Al Jazeera has been taking its mixture of news coverage and extremist propagandizing to our front door through an English-language station, Al Jazeera English.
I can’t agree with Professor Pearl’s naïve conclusion, however:
I wouldn’t call for banning Al Jazeera English in the United States even if that were possible. It is important to extend a hand to the network because it can become a force for good. But it is as important for our news organizations to scrutinize its content and let its viewers know when anti-Western wishes are subverting objective truth.
The chances for Al Jazeera becoming a “force for good” are slim to none. The organizations and forces behind Al Jazeera have nothing but hatred for the West, have declared war on us, and are actively dedicated to our destruction. We would not have allowed the Nazis to broadcast their propaganda in the US during World War II, and we should not allow this enemy media front to spread its poisonous ideology in the US today.
But you don’t have to take my word on this. Here’s Tunisian writer Khaled Shawkat, director of the Netherlands-based Center for Promoting Democracy in the Arab World: Al Jazeera has been taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Al-Jazeera has been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood organization - either at the wish of the channel’s owners as part of a certain political game [played] by the Qatari rulers, or out of the lack of awareness of the Qatari rulers, who think that the situation is under control and that even though they have given the Muslim Brotherhood a chance to control Al-Jazeera, for local, regional, and international considerations, they can get rid of them or restrain them any time they want...
Prior to writing this article, I spoke with a number of journalists at Al-Jazeera, [both] known and unknown, some of whom still worked there and some of whom had been forced, or decided, to quit. Most of them agreed that ‘loyalty’ [to a group] had come to supersede ‘qualifications,’ and that journalists with no Muslim Brotherhood background had to choose one of two options: [either] adapt to the new work conditions and swear loyalty to the representative of the supreme guide [of the Muslim Brotherhood] at Al-Jazeera, or leave...
Many chose to adapt to the Muslim Brotherhood’s administrative conditions, and each found his own way to satisfy the imam. There were those whom Allah finally guided to prayer; there’s the woman whom Allah guided to don the hijab... and there are those whose [TV] programs became more enthusiastic about the Muslim Brotherhood’s slogans... than the organization leaders themselves...
Those who have followed Al-Jazeera’s programming in recent months have undoubtedly noticed that guests from the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood have taken over [the scene], [blocking] guests from the leadership of [other] political movements [from speaking] - to the extent that three or four Muslim Brotherhood members sometimes appear on a single news program, as if it were impossible to properly analyze and assess political events in the Arab world except via the outlook of the leaders of the group that takes the righteous way and is guided [by Allah, i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood]...
A few weeks ago, I was a guest on Al-Jazeera’s Behind the News program, to respond to the affair of Dutch MP ‘Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I was the main guest on the program, because I was the only commentator [speaking] from the scene. But I was surprised that I was the only one stopped from making concluding statements, and also that my name was omitted from the list of the program’s guests in the version posted on the Al-Jazeera website. A friend who had been in the program’s control room told me that the producer had instructed the host not to let me speak again, because he felt that I had criticized Al-Jazeera in my opening statements...
At [Al-Jazeera, employees are] no longer appointed based on qualifications, but [based on] agreed-upon selections, or [are selected by] one of the [Muslim Brotherhood] leaders. Based on what I was told by a friend inside the station, nearly 80% of the station’s recent appointees - particularly in the production and the editing [departments] - are Muslim Brotherhood members or are close to movements [affiliated with] the Muslim Brotherhood. Appointments based on considerations of loyalty [to the Muslim Brotherhood] are even made in the management bodies of new professional departments which Al-Jazeera has decided to launch in the near future. The appointees have no professional expertise in the [relevant] fields [but are chosen for their affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood].