FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Western veneer does not change ideological root of Qatari owned Islamist media
PHOENIX (August 20, 2013) – Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim and author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith” released the following statement on behalf of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) regarding the commencement of operations by Al Jazeera America.
“Imagine if at the height of the cold war the Soviet Union’s state run media Pravda had opened a major broadcasting arm that had access to over 50 million American homes. The outrage would have been palpable. That outrage would have been led by American journalists who were offended that an American journalism label would be put on such a clearly state controlled message.
Fast forward to today as Al Jazeera America commences operations. Al Jazeera Media Group has been one of the greatest, if not the primary tool for the spread of Islamist ideas around the world. Meanwhile, the greatest threat to American security remains jihadist groups that are the byproduct of Islamist ideology which are fueled by an undercurrent of transnational political Islam.
Often trying to package itself as a legitimate global news service which adheres to Western standards of journalism, the reality is that Al Jazeera Media Group is wholly owned and operated by the government of Qatar and the royal family of the House of Thani. While they have attracted a number of high-profile American and Western journalists, Al Jazeera cannot disown themselves of the standards set by their own history, their operating government and family, and their close association with leading global Islamists like hate-monger Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.
Qaradawi, a leading icon of Sunni Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood thought, broadcasts his anti-Semitic and anti-U.S. hatred on his program “Shariah and Life” on Al Jazeera Arabic to over 60 million homes across the world. He continues to have a travel ban to the UK and the U.S. because of his repeated advocacy for terror acts against Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Israelis. Sheikh Qaradawi’s programming has often been a clinic in sowing the seeds of virulent anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, and deep-seeded sectarianism in the region.
Make no mistake. Regardless of the veneer of the product produced today on its Al Jazeera America brand, the total business model and ideological force of Al Jazeera Media Group is not compatible with liberal democracy and in fact is at odds with our Constitution and our national security.
As the Washington Post reported, there are a number of journalists like David Marash who have left Al Jazeera reporting endemic bias after short stints on the air. At the height of the war in Iraq, Al Jazeera served as the region’s central disseminator of horrific videos from Al Qaeda and the primary Islamist global influence operation against America. They blatantly misrepresented and exaggerated death tolls and incidents like Abu Ghraib.
Qatar hosts the world’s only foreign office of the militant Islamist Taliban and has just recently pledged $400 million to the militants of Hamas. Elliott Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations recently pointed out that “Qatar is no model for human rights, much less democracy.” This government which has deep problems with forced labor and human trafficking among many other human rights violations described by Human Rights Watch will be writing the paychecks of its American reporters and those who begin to give them advertising space.
The Arab Awakening is an opportunity not a destination. While the White House sleeps and presents no foreign policy strategy or doctrine, Islamists are putting their global influence operations into high gear to fill the vacuum. Al Jazeera is clearly positioning itself to fill that vacuum with an operation that will package the news from Qatar to our own shores in a way that keeps the Islamist ship headed towards populist victories across the 56 Muslim majority nations.
Sadly, The New York Times this morning heralded the launch of Al Jazeera America as a “more sober look at the news.” Clearly the Times has little to no palpable concern over the journalistic hypocrisy peddled by the American arm of the Al Jazeera global operation.
Adding the thin covering of western anchors such as Soledad O’Brien and Ali Velshi cannot erase Al Jazeera’s Islamist roots. While Al Jazeera may not be airing live rants from Qardawi on this channel, the ideological influence at home base Qatar cannot disappear regardless of their denials.
Their access to American homes will give this foreign government owned organization unearned legitimacy in the American public space.
About the American Islamic Forum for Democracy
The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. AIFD’s mission advocates for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. For more information on AIFD, please visit our website at http://www.aifdemocracy.org/.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Gregg Edgar
Gordon C. James Public Relations