Accuracy in Media

Time magazine’s recent cover story on Islam, “The Struggle Within,” has alerted us to some of the mistakes made in the Iraq war.  One of those mistakes, rectified by the new Iraqi interim government, was allowing the Arab television network Al-Jazeera to broadcast from Iraq.  The Time magazine article, written by Bill Powell, has several references to how images of the conflict have fed the fires of the terrorist assault against our troops and the people of Iraq.  American news organizations have broadcast the same images, but they were given more power and authority through Al-Jazeera, known as a mouthpiece for al Qaeda.

Sheik Khale, an Imam in Cairo, is quoted as saying, “Most of the pictures we see are of Iraqi heads stepped on by American Army boots.”  Musdah Mulia, a Muslim scholar in Indonesia, says that “moderates” in the religion “are finding it more difficult to discuss issues like human rights and democracy when photos of Americans torturing Iraqis keep appearing.”  Later in the article, Powell points out that “images of ongoing violence and devastation in Iraq” have been “beamed all over the Islamic world by satellite channels like Al Jazeera,” and these images have “emboldened radical Islamists?”

The interim Iraqi regime closed down Al-Jazeera on August 7.  Prime Minister Ayad Allawi told a news conference that the order to close Al-Jazeera came after an independent commission monitored the network’s reports and concluded that the network was inciting terrorist attacks.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry said, “Al-Jazeera has accepted to be the mouthpiece of terrorist and criminal groups thus contributing to attempts to impair security and achieve aims of terrorism in spreading terror in the minds of peaceful Iraqi citizens with activities that have nothing to do with acts of violence.  In so doing, it has contributed to hindering the Iraq reconstruction process by justifying kidnappings and killing of foreigners working here.  It has also subjected the security, safety and property of citizens as well as government facilities, security and safety of national armed forces to danger.”

While the Time magazine article was informative in terms of describing the pernicious influence of Al-Jazeera, it presented disinformation about the nature of Islam.  The story said that, “Many Islamic scholars take pains to point out that the basic texts of the faith never sanction the wanton murder of civilians?the defining feature of contemporary Islamic terrorism.”  Craig Winn, author of the explosive book, Prophet of Doom, would beg to disagree.  After years of investigation, he concluded, “Islam is not a tolerant, peace-loving religion? The Koran’s most dominant themes are pain, hate, and war.  Terror is the legacy of Muhammad because Muhammad himself was a terrorist.”

Bill Powell of Time Magazine hinted that this may be the case, when he quoted a British Pakistani Muslim as saying, “Allah says fight, you fight.  How can anyone take a ‘moderate’ view of this?”  His goal, he tells Time magazine, is to restore the rule of “central [Islamic] authority” over “as much of the world as possible.”

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