Accuracy in Media

One of the ironies in post-9/11 America is that the rush to defend Islamic extremists on campus and off leaves the mostly moderate Muslim population in the United States virtually invisible. This moderate view is actually widespread throughout democratic America, though many have not heard its message. Instead, the radical shouts of Islam remain prevalent amidst the high reaches of society, including the media.

A film was created for this very purpose, to expose the unheard voices from the Muslim moderate center in America and the free world. The message has been carried out, to the dismay of angry radical Muslim leaders. Said one of the moderates, at a recent screening of the film at the Heritage Foundation, “If it was not illegal to kill, and there would be no punishment, some of us would be dead by now,” thus emphasizing the importance of legal and religious protection against the steamrolling Muslim extremists.

The film, Islam vs. Islamists: Voices From the Muslim Center, was refused air time by PBS. Producer Martyn Burke told of the controversial method of PBS in handling the process. The television giant made overt efforts to hold up the broadcasting of the documentary, finally allowing the filming to take place. However, PBS hired a close confidant of the Nation of Islam as an “advisor” to the project. That advisor also aided in the selection of the certain films to be aired in PBS’ “Crossroads” television series. She took the film and showed it in secret to the Nation of Islam during the entire process. The film never made it through the final cut onto the “Crossroads” series. All the while, PBS let it be known that they found nothing wrong with the radical idea of an Islamic society. The entire ordeal was, according to Burke, a massive breach of journalistic ethics.

However, the film was presented at the Heritage Foundation with a board of experts present, to discuss the situation of moderate Muslims today. Beginning with a crucial debate raging in Europe between Muslim diplomats and those of Islam who desire an Islamic society in Europe, the film presented the stories and thoughts of notable persons from the moderate strain of Islam, while portraying their struggle against the radical Muslims who vehemently oppose their views.

Terek Fatah is a well-known Muslim political activist in Canada, host of a television show that, among other things, broadcasts the voice of a moderate member of Islam, criticizing the stubbornness and acid resentment of Muslim extremists against free society. “Where’s your anger?” Fatah asked the extremist movement, particularly the brainwashed youth. He believes that the young Muslim activists are fueled by an inner resentment against themselves, the culture, and those who prevented their intellectual freedom while growing up.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser was another moderate whose voice was broadcast. Jasser, well-known in the Phoenix, Arizona region, headed a large rally of Muslims against terror in 2004. He was harshly criticized by many extremists for his efforts. Jasser criticized the Imams (Muslim religious teachers) who preach politics and not the humanitarianism of Mohammed and who blame everyone else for problems within society, failing to look to themselves and their own followers for any guilt.

His words were all but proven by a notable Muslim terrorist, one of multiple witnesses from the Islamic extremist sector interviewed in the film. He spoke of the common punishment in the Islamic Middle East for certain religious offenses, stoning to death. In fact, he defended such a practice. “Didn’t Jesus say ‘He who has no sin cast the first stone’?”

The film explained the key events marking the rise of radical Islam in the West, pointing back to 1979, when Muslim extremists seized the vital mosque in Mecca and proclaimed the Saudi Arabian ruling class as corrupt. To prevent future fiascos, the upper classes in Arabia began funding those groups of extremists to take their efforts elsewhere. The Wahabbi strain of Islam was then born in America, as the activists traveled first to Chicago and began building mosques. Though many of the Islamic citizens today in America are from a moderate strain of Islam, the radical Wahabbis continue to fund many of the mosques in America and Canada, and also have begun a campaign for a monopoly on Islamic education in the West.

Journalist Mohammed Sifauoi is another noteworthy Muslim moderate fighting the Islamic violence overseas, in France. He was best known for his efforts in infiltrating an Islamic Algerian terrorist group and exposing them to society. The government protects him every moment of every day, because of the threats to his life posed by the terrorist cells in the region.

After the film was shown, questions were posed to the panel, which included Shaykh Muhammed Hisham Kabbani and Hedieh Mirahmadi, two well-known Muslim moderates in councils in America and Britain. Kabbani spoke of present situation of the Wahabbi mosques in the U.S., noting that they are great in number and under the influence of the extremists, but legally “protected” by freedom of speech. The extremists can be classified as “Islamists,” because of their agenda pushing for not just religion, but political sedition. It is this murky combination of religion and politics that constitutes “Islamism,” that Kabbani defined as the belief that Islam demands a political program which must be brought by faithful Muslims to civil society.

Martyn Burke explained the founding principle for his movie, exploring the unknown voice of the Muslim moderates amidst the violent clamor of the Wahabbis and Islamists. The film was not meant to bash Muslims, he stated. Rather, it was meant to provide some answers to the prevailing question “Why aren’t we hearing from moderate Muslims?”

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