Accuracy in Media

The recent Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) show, Al Qaeda’s New Front, demonstrates how journalists can miss the big picture. The show was full of interesting information about the radical Islamic threat, especially in Europe. But it failed to adequately explain why they hate and want to kill us. The disturbing answer, however, was in the program but not highlighted―the Islamic terrorists are motivated by their religion.

The head of a London mosque, Aby Abdullah, is shown saying, “People see us as extremists because we don’t compromise the religion of Allah [Arabic]. We accept it with every word and every utterance of our beloved Prophet Mohammed, Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, that no Muslim can turn away from one aya of the Koran, one verse of the Quran. If we don’t accept this, we actually become disbelievers.” He goes on to say, “Allah mentioned jihad in the Koran 26 times [Arabic phrase]. Allah mentioned qita fi sabil-Allah 89 times. ‘Qita fi sabil-Allah’ is fighting by a physical fighting.”

This is an extraordinary statement. This Muslim leader is saying that the reason they kill people is they are following the word of their prophet Mohammed and the Muslim holy book, the Koran.  If this is somehow a distortion of Mohammed and the Koran, then PBS had the obligation to set the record straight. Instead, however, PBS airs such a statement and then moves on to experts who insist that Islamic radicals are motivated to kill us by poverty. The narrator says, “They live in difficult conditions, consigned to vast concrete enclaves on the outskirts of Paris and other cities. Crime and unemployment are rising, and young people can be easy prey for seasoned radicals.”

But is it a distortion to conclude that the Koran inspires violence?  Craig Winn wrote a book about Islam, Prophet of Doom, whose subtitle is, “Islam’s Terrorist Dogma in Mohammed’s Own Words.” The book is available on line at his web site,, and he offers a wide selection of violence-oriented passages from the Koran at the top of his home page.

One of his latest entries concerns something that happened in New Jersey on January 13, when a Christian family was brutally murdered inside their Jersey City home. Hossam Armanious, an immigrant from Egypt, his wife and their two daughters were found bound and gagged and their throats slashed. While police have not charged Islamic radicals in the murders and prosecutors say that robbery may have been a motive, Winn is convinced that the family was killed by “hateful Muslims following Muhammad’s example and Allah’s orders.” One of the leads in the case involves a radical Islamic Web site that tracks the activities of Christians who are perceived to be hostile to Islam. Armanious reportedly received a death threat on this site before he and his family were murdered.

The PBS show, reported by Lowell Bergman, formerly of 60 Minutes, was conducted in conjunction with the New York Times. The day that the show aired, January 25, the Times ran a piece co-authored by Bergman on militant imams under scrutiny in Europe. But the story left hanging the critical question of whether Islam is a religion of peace or not.

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