Tiny Minority of Extremists Enraged, Seething
DUBAI: The Arab world’s leading satellite television channels have been giving unprecedented coverage of the death throes of Pope John Paul II, provoking anger from Islamic extremists.
Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, famed for screening “exclusive” videotapes from Islamic militants including Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, was among the first to announce the pope’s death. On Sunday it continued providing widespread coverage of his life and death, as did Dubai-based Al-Arabiya.
Both Al-Jazeera and Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya transmitted live from the Vatican over the past few days, with blow-by-blow accounts from their correspondents at the Vatican, in Rome and at holy sites in Israel and the Palestinian territories. …
But radical Islamists, who advocate the expulsion of non-Muslims from Islamic countries, have been using Islamist Web sites to vent their anger at Arab television stations for according the pope such importance.
One such user lashed out at Al-Jazeera, saying viewers were “annoyed” with extensive reports eulogizing the pope, who the user described as an “old tyrant.”
“What is mortifying is that this hooligan channel pretends [to defend] Islam,” added the user, who wrote under the name Muhib al-Salihine on the Islamic News Network, a site often used by Islamist militants operating in Iraq.
“What is more humiliating - I think that it was Al-Arabiya channel - is that the imam of a mosque … praised the memory [of the pope],” said Seri Eddine le Libyen on the same site.
“I have started to hate Al-Jazeera for the multiplicity of information on the grieving” for the pope, said another user.
In Lebanon, the Al-Manar satellite television of the Shiite group Hizbullah, interrupted its programs after the announcement of the pope’s death to broadcast live from the Vatican.
Hizballah is broadcasting live from the Vatican?