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Producer: PBS dropped 'Islam vs. Islamists' on political grounds

Old 04-12-07, 12:48 PM
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Producer: PBS dropped 'Islam vs. Islamists' on political grounds

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...roads0410.html

Producer: PBS dropped 'Islam vs. Islamists' on political grounds
Dennis Wagner
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 10, 2007 12:00 AM

The producer of a tax-financed documentary on Islamic extremism claims his film has been dropped for political reasons from a television series that airs next week on more than 300 PBS stations nationwide.

Key portions of the documentary focus on Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser of Phoenix and his American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a non-profit organization of Muslim Americans who advocate patriotism, constitutional democracy and a separation of church and state.


Martyn Burke says that the Public Broadcasting Service and project managers at station WETA in Washington, D.C., excluded his documentary, Islam vs. Islamists, from the series America at a Crossroads after he refused to fire two co-producers affiliated with a conservative think tank.


"I was ordered to fire my two partners (who brought me into this project) on political grounds," Burke said in a complaint letter to PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supplied funds for the films.

Burke wrote that his documentary depicts the plight of moderate Muslims who are silenced by Islamic extremists, adding, "Now it appears to be PBS and CPB who are silencing them."

A Jan. 30 news release by the corporation listed Islam vs. Islamists as one of eight films to be presented in the opening series.

Mary Stewart, vice president of external affairs at WETA, said Burke's documentary was not completed on time to be among 11 documentaries that will be aired beginning Sunday. Stewart said the picture may be broadcast by PBS at a later date.

"The film is a strong film," Stewart said. "I'm still hoping to see this in the Crossroads initiative."

Jeff Bieber, WETA's executive producer for Crossroads, gave a substantially different explanation. He said Burke's film had "serious structural problems (and) . . . was irresponsible because the writing was alarmist, and it wasn't fair."

"They're crying foul, and there was no foul ball," Bieber added. "The problem is in their film."


Federally funded films
The controversy involves a collection of documentaries financed with $20 million in federal grants from the corporation, which conceived Crossroads in 2004 to enhance public understanding of terrorism, homeland security and other crucial issues in the post-9/11 era. Independent filmmakers submitted 430 proposals. Full production grants were given to 21 of those, including Islam vs. Islamists, which received $700,000.

Subtitled Voices From the Muslim Center, Burke says his film "attempts to answer the question: 'Where are the moderate Muslims?' The answer is, 'Wherever they are, they are reviled and sometimes attacked' " by extremists.

Michael Levy, a spokesman for CPB, said the corporation set up the Crossroads project and provided funding, but turned over management and content control to PBS and WETA 13 months ago.

After that, Burke says in his Feb. 23 complaint letter, he "consistently encountered actions by the PBS series producers that violate the basic tenets of journalism in America."

PBS officials turned down interview requests.



Debate about bias
The dispute adds to a running debate about political bias in the nation's publicly funded television business. In 2004, filmmakers complained that CPB was pushing a right-wing agenda for the Crossroads series. A year later, CPB President Kenneth Tomlinson sought to eliminate what he saw as a liberal bias at PBS. He was forced to resign after an inspector general's report found that he violated federal rules and ethics standards in the process.

Burke's credits include Pirates of Silicon Valley, a movie about the founders of Microsoft, and The Hollywood Ten, a documentary about blacklisted leftists in the motion picture industry during the 1950s.


In the making of Islam vs. Islamists, Burke's co-producers were Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, and Alex Alexiev, the non-profit organization's vice president. Both men are neo-conservatives who have written on the threat of "Islamofascism" to the free world.

Before filming began last year, Burke says, Bieber asked him, "Don't you check into the politics of the people you work with?"

Bieber said PBS was concerned that the Center for Security Policy is an advocacy group, so its leaders could not produce an objective picture. Because of that, he suggested that Gaffney be demoted to adviser.

Burke, who did not honor the recommendation, says that funding was delayed and WETA began to interfere with his film until it was "expelled" from Crossroads.

Among Burke's examples of tampering:


• A WETA manager pressed to eliminate a key perspective of the film: The claim that Muslim radicals are pushing to establish "parallel societies" in America and Europe governed by Shariah law rather than sectarian courts.


• After grants were issued, Crossroads managers commissioned a new film that overlapped with Islam vs. Islamists and competed for the same interview subjects.


• WETA appointed an advisory board that includes Aminah Beverly McCloud, director of World Islamic Studies at DePaul University. In an "unparalleled breach of ethics," Burke says, McCloud took rough-cut segments of the film and showed them to Nation of Islam officials, who are a subject of the documentary. They threatened to sue.

"This utterly undermines any journalistic independence," Burke wrote in an e-mail to WETA officials.

In an interview, McCloud said she showed a single video frame to a Muslim journalist who was not a Nation of Islam representative.

However, in a January e-mail, McCloud told Crossroads producers that she had spoken with Nation of Islam representatives and "invited them over to view this section." She also wrote that they were outraged "and will promptly pursue litigation."

Stewart, the WETA executive, said McCloud was admonished for "inappropriate" conduct.

Otherwise, however, Stewart said Crossroads producers have dealt with Islam vs. Islamists in a fair and professional manner.
I suspect that if it doesn't blame conservatives in general and President Bush in particular, PBS isn't going to be interested.
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Old 04-12-07, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
Clearly, this man is a threat. Good job PBS.
And that's exactly the curious situation that's happening in the West (and particularly in Europe), where a sizeable bloc of the political left is abandoning and betraying the true liberals of the Islamic world and is instead defending and siding with their conservative religious oppressors. I can't say it better than this guy (a former Islamic militant) does:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editor...l?id=110009890

The Trouble With Islam

Sadly, mainstream Muslim teaching accepts and promotes violence.

BY TAWFIK HAMID
Tuesday, April 3, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Not many years ago the brilliant Orientalist, Bernard Lewis, published a short history of the Islamic world's decline, entitled "What Went Wrong?" Astonishingly, there was, among many Western "progressives," a vocal dislike for the title. It is a false premise, these critics protested. They ignored Mr. Lewis's implicit statement that things have been, or could be, right.

But indeed, there is much that is clearly wrong with the Islamic world. Women are stoned to death and undergo clitorectomies. Gays hang from the gallows under the approving eyes of the proponents of Shariah, the legal code of Islam. Sunni and Shia massacre each other daily in Iraq. Palestinian mothers teach 3-year-old boys and girls the ideal of martyrdom. One would expect the orthodox Islamic establishment to evade or dismiss these complaints, but less happily, the non-Muslim priests of enlightenment in the West have come, actively and passively, to the Islamists' defense.

These "progressives" frequently cite the need to examine "root causes." In this they are correct: Terrorism is only the manifestation of a disease and not the disease itself. But the root-causes are quite different from what they think. As a former member of Jemaah Islamiya, a group led by al Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, I know firsthand that the inhumane teaching in Islamist ideology can transform a young, benevolent mind into that of a terrorist. Without confronting the ideological roots of radical Islam it will be impossible to combat it. While there are many ideological "rootlets" of Islamism, the main tap root has a name--Salafism, or Salafi Islam, a violent, ultra-conservative version of the religion.

It is vital to grasp that traditional and even mainstream Islamic teaching accepts and promotes violence. Shariah, for example, allows apostates to be killed, permits beating women to discipline them, seeks to subjugate non-Muslims to Islam as dhimmis and justifies declaring war to do so. It exhorts good Muslims to exterminate the Jews before the "end of days." The near deafening silence of the Muslim majority against these barbaric practices is evidence enough that there is something fundamentally wrong.

The grave predicament we face in the Islamic world is the virtual lack of approved, theologically rigorous interpretations of Islam that clearly challenge the abusive aspects of Shariah. Unlike Salafism, more liberal branches of Islam, such as Sufism, typically do not provide the essential theological base to nullify the cruel proclamations of their Salafist counterparts. And so, for more than 20 years I have been developing and working to establish a theologically-rigorous Islam that teaches peace.

Yet it is ironic and discouraging that many non-Muslim, Western intellectuals--who unceasingly claim to support human rights--have become obstacles to reforming Islam. Political correctness among Westerners obstructs unambiguous criticism of Shariah's inhumanity. They find socioeconomic or political excuses for Islamist terrorism such as poverty, colonialism, discrimination or the existence of Israel. What incentive is there for Muslims to demand reform when Western "progressives" pave the way for Islamist barbarity? Indeed, if the problem is not one of religious beliefs, it leaves one to wonder why Christians who live among Muslims under identical circumstances refrain from contributing to wide-scale, systematic campaigns of terror.





Politicians and scholars in the West have taken up the chant that Islamic extremism is caused by the Arab-Israeli conflict. This analysis cannot convince any rational person that the Islamist murder of over 150,000 innocent people in Algeria--which happened in the last few decades--or their slaying of hundreds of Buddhists in Thailand, or the brutal violence between Sunni and Shia in Iraq could have anything to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Western feminists duly fight in their home countries for equal pay and opportunity, but seemingly ignore, under a façade of cultural relativism, that large numbers of women in the Islamic world live under threat of beating, execution and genital mutilation, or cannot vote, drive cars and dress as they please.

The tendency of many Westerners to restrict themselves to self-criticism further obstructs reformation in Islam. Americans demonstrate against the war in Iraq, yet decline to demonstrate against the terrorists who kidnap innocent people and behead them. Similarly, after the Madrid train bombings, millions of Spanish citizens demonstrated against their separatist organization, ETA. But once the demonstrators realized that Muslims were behind the terror attacks they suspended the demonstrations. This example sent a message to radical Islamists to continue their violent methods.

Western appeasement of their Muslim communities has exacerbated the problem. During the four-month period after the publication of the Muhammad cartoons in a Danish magazine, there were comparatively few violent demonstrations by Muslims. Within a few days of the Danish magazine's formal apology, riots erupted throughout the world. The apology had been perceived by Islamists as weakness and concession.

Worst of all, perhaps, is the anti-Americanism among many Westerners. It is a resentment so strong, so deep-seated, so rooted in personal identity, that it has led many, consciously or unconsciously, to morally support America's enemies.

Progressives need to realize that radical Islam is based on an antiliberal system. They need to awaken to the inhumane policies and practices of Islamists around the world. They need to realize that Islamism spells the death of liberal values. And they must not take for granted the respect for human rights and dignity that we experience in America, and indeed, the West, today.

Well-meaning interfaith dialogues with Muslims have largely been fruitless. Participants must demand--but so far haven't--that Muslim organizations and scholars specifically and unambiguously denounce violent Salafi components in their mosques and in the media. Muslims who do not vocally oppose brutal Shariah decrees should not be considered "moderates."


All of this makes the efforts of Muslim reformers more difficult. When Westerners make politically-correct excuses for Islamism, it actually endangers the lives of reformers and in many cases has the effect of suppressing their voices.

Tolerance does not mean toleration of atrocities under the umbrella of relativism. It is time for all of us in the free world to face the reality of Salafi Islam or the reality of radical Islam will continue to face us.

Dr. Hamid, a onetime member of Jemaah Islamiya, an Islamist terrorist group, is a medical doctor and Muslim reformer living in the West.
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Old 04-13-07, 01:39 AM
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Everyone is assuming Burke is being completely honest about the reasons his documentary was excluded and that PBS is silencing a certain viewpoint?

*checks usernames*

Oh, nevermind.
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Old 04-13-07, 02:11 AM
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And yet PBS aired a "documentary" on Mohammed that was reverential and worshipful while not talking about the killing and pillageing that he himself committed, urged his followers to committ, and foisted upon the rest of the world in the name of Allah. Justifying it as defensive .

http://www.pbs.org/muhammad/

Heck, Khomeni himself couldn't have made a better religious indoctrination and recruitment film.
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Old 04-13-07, 02:21 AM
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Its 2007

I would have thought by now people would be able to have honest open discussions about the issues of the day. I would have thought by now people wouldn't be afraid of taking controversial stances or standing up to powers that be of religion, race, or any other 'hot button issues' like environmentalism. People used to discuss ways to solve problems and have true discussions without fear of angering the other side, or a minority group, or the precious Woodland Tree Frog.

I seriously have no idea why people are so afraid to discuss things, Islam especially. When did every start to wuss out and be afraid of angering others, especially (wipe my single tear) the poor ol' Islamic extremists.

Signed,

Jesus Christ and Muhammed
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Old 04-14-07, 12:25 PM
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Islam is the religion of peace! Death to anyone who says it is violent!
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Old 04-14-07, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Draven
Everyone is assuming Burke is being completely honest about the reasons his documentary was excluded and that PBS is silencing a certain viewpoint?

*checks usernames*

Oh, nevermind.
You almost made a point until you decided to make it entirely personal about members here.

We absolutely should question Burke's explanation. The fact that two different explanations were given by WETA folks is interesting, but I don't think there is necessarily a conflict between those statements, nor should we assume that both of those parties were qualified to speak on the matter.

Having said that, the request that he part ways from anyone associated with a conservative think tank is troubling in and of itself. It sounds like the relationship was on shaky ground to begin with so it's not hard to see why he would make this allegation as to the cancellation.
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Old 04-14-07, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by dhmac
Islam is the religion of peace! Death to anyone who says it is violent!
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Old 04-15-07, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by IMRICKJAMES
I seriously have no idea why people are so afraid to discuss things, Islam especially. When did every start to wuss out and be afraid of angering others, especially (wipe my single tear) the poor ol' Islamic extremists.
I think it's pretty easy to understand why people are so afraid to discuss Islam in Europe---it is objectively dangerous to do so. Theo van Gough, of course, was murdered for making his film about negative aspects of Islam, Ayan Hirsi Ali had to have 24 hour security before she finally left for the US. The publishing of the Danish cartoons led to worldwide violence, and death threats against the publishers and artists of the cartoons, and here's an example from last week:

http://www.aftenposten.no/english/lo...cle1734869.ece

Kadra attacked in public

Norwegian-Somalian Kadra, who became famous in Norway for exposing imam support of female circumcision, was beaten unconscious on Thursday.
Norwegian-Somalian Kadra has taken risks to front her views.




Kadra was attacked and beaten senseless by seven or eight persons of Somali origin, newspaper VG reports.

"I was terrified. While I lay on the pavement they kicked me and screamed that I had trampled on the Koran. Several shouted Allah-o-akbar (God is great) and also recited from the Koran," Kadra told VG.

Kadra linked the attack to recent remarks in VG where she said that the Koran's views on women needed to be reinterpreted.

Kadra said that the gang of Somali men attacked her around 3 a.m. in downtown Oslo on Thursday. A medical examination found that she had several broken ribs, NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting) reports. Kadra filed charges and was due to speak with police on Friday.

The Islamic Council Norway (IRN) condemned the attack on Kadra and urged that she pursue the matter with police.

"Behavior where one goes to physical attack on someone you disagree with violates Islamic teaching and the prophet Muhammad's sunnah (lifestyle). We strongly object to such behavior," the IRN said in a press release.

Kadra's role in a 2000 hidden camera TV documentary revealing the positive attitude of Muslim leaders to female circumcision had a massive impact on Norway, and sparked new legislation.
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Old 04-15-07, 12:31 PM
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"Behavior where one goes to physical attack on someone you disagree with violates Islamic teaching and the prophet Muhammad's sunnah (lifestyle). We strongly object to such behavior," the IRN said in a press release.
He forgot the words "and leaving them alive" in between "with" and "violates".
But I'm glad they came out against this. What they need to do is to come out against the Imams who are urging the violence and denounce them publicly.
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Old 04-20-07, 06:28 PM
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Good piece from one of the subjects of the PBS documentary (my bolding):


http://www.realclearpolitics.com/art..._islamist.html

The Mainstream Media: Islamist Facilitators

By M. Zuhdi Jasser

Dennis Wagner of the Arizona Republic broke the story on April 10, 2007 about PBS's censorship of the documentary, Islam vs. Islamists from its America at a Crossroads series which debuted this week. The film's producers, Frank Gaffney, Alex Alexiev and the veteran filmmaker, Martyn Burke of ABG Films, Inc. have since presented in shocking detail their painful protracted experiences trying to navigate the censors at PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which funded the film with $675,000 of the taxpayers' monies but now has chosen to shelve it. In just the last week of public debate, there has been a firestorm of outcry from the public who are demanding that oppressive methods of editorial content control by power brokers at PBS be investigated and the real story behind the shelving of Islam vs. Islamists be exposed. PBS's exploitation of the public dime and the public airwaves for the narrow point of view of the Islamist sympathizers with the exclusion of the anti-Islamist Muslims is just now beginning to be understood.

As one of the subjects of the documentary, I was able to experience first-hand the professionalism and in-depth journalistic standards of veteran filmmaker, Martyn Burke, and his first-class team of consummate professionals. It was refreshing to have a documentary set out objectively to look into the deep-seated internal struggles of anti-Islamist Muslims like myself. Our work at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) here in Phoenix has been riddled with continual blowback and resistance in many forms from the power structure of the activist Muslim community in the Phoenix Valley. The Valley Council of Imams, the local Muslim Voice newspaper, and organizations like CAIR-AZ have provided a laboratory of typical Islamist responses to an American organization of Muslims, like AIFD, who are trying to rescue spiritual Islam from the death grip of Islamists--Islam vs. Islamists. I do this out of love for my faith and its spiritual path to the God of Abraham in order to free it from the corruption of the political imam which has become so ubiquitous.

I have previously discussed the harm of our government's enabling of Islamists (like CAIR, MPAC, MAS, MSA, or ISNA) in the United States and how the governmental endorsement of Islamists publicly empowers them and allows them to dodge their responsibility of countering Islamism as an ideology. This order of magnitude is greater in impact when it concerns the media's inability to wage the debate of the "struggle for the soul of Islam". Stories about Islam and Muslims have been more and more ubiquitous since 9-11 and now are actually commonplace. Yet, the actual debate within the Muslim community has barely begun. Where's the disconnect? Look no further than the Islamist enablers in the media.

When so many ask across the nation, "where are the moderate voices of Islam?", one cannot help lately but exclaim that they are being suffocated by misguided political correctness and by Islamist influence within mainstream media and government. The PBS censorship of the documentary, Islam vs. Islamists, highlights one of the best examples to date of the symbiosis of both government complicity and media complicity with the Islamist ideology.

The recent RAND corporation research project highlighting the dire need to Build Moderate Muslim Networks in this new global "long war" against militant Islamism and its ideological siblings will never come to fruition with the current blinded pro-Islamist mainstream media approach. The mainstream media (MSM) is apparently blind to the real ideology of Islamism and they allow Islamists to hide their theocracy behind minority politics. The MSM not only avoids the free flow of ideas within the Muslim community, it effectively allows the Islamists completely to stifle any and all debate which would have allowed Muslims to question those in positions of authority within the Islamic community.

It is time for the MSM to stop protecting Muslims from one another and to stop stifling the debate many anti-Islamist Muslims would like to wage against leading Islamists. If Muslims are going to form a public expression of Islam which is reconciled with western democracies which separate religion and government, this debate against Islamism needs yet to begin, let alone blossom into cultural change for Muslims.

Islamists fear nothing more than credible and genuine debate against the core political ideology of Islamism from pious anti-Islamist Muslims. With an ideological counter from anti-Islamist Muslims- the Islamist emperor "has no clothes". At every level, they are using America's naïveté about Islam in order to continue their theft of Islam for the political agenda of Islamism. The Islamists know that anti-Islamist Muslims rob them of their minority trump card of Islamophobia and force them to come to terms with the anti-freedom, and anti-liberty and anti-pluralistic ideology of Islamism. Anti-Islamist, pro-Islamic Muslims expose the real motives of Islamists--which is the exploitation of the spiritual path of Islam for political and governmental power and coercion.

The MSM would prefer to facilitate the current Islamist organizations and Islamist imams. Why? It could be a fear of litigation, minority victim politics, or simple ignorance regarding the goals of Islamism. As in the case with PBS, it could also be the internal influence and infiltration of Islamists within the media and government who will go to great lengths to suffocate the opinions of anti-Islamists, especially anti-Islamist Muslims.

The PBS/CPB censorship of Islam vs. Islamists exemplifies the dire need to begin to educate many in the MSM of the ideological realities of the Islamists. They may protect Islamists blindly out of ignorance, fear, infiltration, or minority politics. But, at the end of the day, if the MSM editors understood the type of society the protected Islamists would create if they became a majority, their support would vanish. Feminists, social liberals, and those that would separate religion from government would be entirely ignored under Islamist control. Just ask the feminists what type of equality they have in many Islamist controlled mosques around the country.

It is interesting that even in the recent April 18 New York Times, Virginia Heffernan appropriately critiques the vacuous nature of Robert McNeil's documentary, "The Muslim Americans". McNeil's documentary which did conveniently make the cut of the Crossroads series, turned out to be a puff-piece for political correctness with no insight into Islamist ideologies and its danger to America. The question remains whether epiphanies like Heffernan's in the Times about McNeil's piece will translate into systemic changes in the approach of the MSM toward Islamists.

When will there be a change from coddling and enabling Islamists toward critical engagement of their deep ideological inconsistencies with Americanism? Thus far, investigative journalism, hard-hitting analysis, and identification of the clear and present danger of the Islamist ideological threat remains at best, a large blind spot and at worst an intentional omission.

Islamists sneak in their political agenda free of criticism from the MSM because they do it in the name of a religion. When moderate Muslims call them on their false representation of all Muslims and the disservice they do to the spiritual faith of Islam, the MSM so far chooses to shelve and ignore our efforts to be heard.

So the next time anyone asks, "where are the moderate voices of Islam?", tell them that the main reason they are voices in the wilderness is that the mainstream media chooses to leave them in the wilderness and prevent them from seeing the light of day. In the PBS documentary it is only Muslims interviewed throughout the film--how could that be anti-Muslim? Simply put, PBS claims that the veteran filmmaker Martyn Burke was one-sided, but it appears that PBS and often the MSM is one-sided protecting Islamist leadership from their most effective detractors--anti-Islamist Muslim moderates.

Borrowing on the old cliché of a tree falling in a forest, if Muslims speak out against Islamists but remain unheard (in the PBS forest), did they speak out at all? Without regular opportunities in the media and government for anti-Islamist Muslims to speak out, America will never know that they ever did. Without being heard the moderate voices will be as if they never existed. Without hearing the moderate voice, it is so much the easier for Islamists to continue toward their goal of political domination and demagoguery of the Muslim community and, ultimately, of America itself.

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor M. Zuhdi Jasser is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander and the Chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy based in Phoenix, Arizona. He can be reached at [email protected].
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Old 04-20-07, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Ky-Fi
Kadra was attacked and beaten senseless by seven or eight persons of Somali origin, newspaper VG reports.
Well, we can throw some ham at them.
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Old 04-22-07, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bhk
I suspect that if it doesn't blame conservatives in general and President Bush in particular, PBS isn't going to be interested.
Hmm... The left is saying PBS went right along time ago, and should go away all together. Note this recent article by Robert Parry:

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2007/041907.html

Time for PBS to Go?

By Robert Parry
April 19, 2007

PBS is broadcasting what amounts to a neoconservative propaganda series entitled “America at a Crossroads,” which has included a full hour info-mercial for George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq written and narrated by Richard Perle, one of the war’s architects.
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Old 04-22-07, 05:53 PM
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PBS must be doing something right if the Left and Right don't like them.
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Old 04-23-07, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Artman
Hmm... The left is saying PBS went right along time ago, and should go away all together. Note this recent article by Robert Parry:

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2007/041907.html

Time for PBS to Go?

By Robert Parry
April 19, 2007

PBS is broadcasting what amounts to a neoconservative propaganda series entitled “America at a Crossroads,” which has included a full hour info-mercial for George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq written and narrated by Richard Perle, one of the war’s architects.
The left is also upset that PBS continues to air the neoconservative roundtable <i>Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg</i>.
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Old 04-23-07, 09:42 PM
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Could it be that PBS is in the center of the political toilet. Of course, this means they are ripe for flushing.
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Old 04-24-07, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
Well, we can throw some ham at them.
Not a bad idea. That actually would maybe have worked.
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Old 04-24-07, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
The left is also upset that PBS continues to air the neoconservative roundtable <i>Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg</i>.
Now the right is getting their panties into a squeeze with Bill Moyers coming on.
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Old 05-13-07, 07:10 PM
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Another take on this:

http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/...r_l__simon.htm


TOO FINE FOR PBS

By ROGER L. SIMON


May 13, 2007 -- I call on my fellow Motion Picture Academy members, whatever their politics, to protest this cowardly and un-American act of censorship.
I HAVE to admit the first thing that attracted me to Martyn Burke's "Islam vs. Islamists" was that PBS had suppressed it. As is now well known, the network rejected Burke's documentary - produced with Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev for the network's "American Crossroads" series - on the film's completion. PBS's initial explanation was that the film was not good enough, aesthetically.

Well, yes, I thought, that could be. Most things aren't. As a filmmaker, I know that well. Only one of the films I have written - "Enemies, A Love Story" - can I even watch today. Most PBS documentaries I find so stultifying I'd rather read the phone book.

So I assumed the criticism of Burke's film was valid. Still, I was curious. I had not been entirely satisfied with previous documentaries I had seen on related subjects - "Islam: What the West Needs To Know" and "Obsession" - because, like Al Gore's global-warming film, they were made in the old-fashioned, didactic style of the conventional documentary that always teeters on the edge of propaganda or special pleading. I assumed "Islam vs. Islamists" would be like that.

Boy, was I wrong. Burke's doc is a riveting and creatively made film about the most important subject of our time: What to do about radical Islam?

It confronts this dilemma in a sly, novelistic manner, inter-weaving the stories of good, moderate Muslims with the imams and supposedly "true Muslims" who, not surprisingly, accuse the moderate Muslims of not being Muslims at all.

Soon enough we learn these imams are apologists for terrorism and for the worst kind of medieval religious sadism. (One of them enthusiastically endorses the stoning to death of adulterers by holding up a Koran. "I didn't make this up," he says proudly. "It is written here.") The mostly mild-mannered moderate Muslims are shown to be at risk for their lives, some of them accompanied everywhere by bodyguards.

All this is done with the people talking about themselves and revealing themselves (including the imam responsible for the bloody Danish Cartoons riots). There are no so-called "terrorism experts" or other talking heads interpreting reality for us.

In other words, this is a film, not another one of those didactic docs referred to above.

But it does have a strong point of view - and therein lies the rub. PBS, clearly, doesn't like what this movie says. And I suspect it likes it less because the film is well made (the reverse of what the network originally claimed).

PBS's views seem particularly troglodytic today in light of recent events at Fort Dix. But that is the least of it. What is far more important to our country is that our Public Broadcasting Service, an organization supported by taxpayer money, is practicing the most obvious censorship.

PBS is operating here in the manner of similar institutions in the former Soviet Union and in modern Iran - financing artists and then withholding distribution of their work when it is not deemed ideologically "correct." It's a form of thought-control, and it's unconscionable.

I hereby call on my fellow Motion Picture Academy members, whatever their political leanings, to protest this cowardly and un-American act of censorship. As artists, we should be appalled by such blatant disregard of our First Amendment rights. Public funding of PBS should be reconsidered if such reactionary behavior continues.

Roger L. Simon, the CEO of PajamasMedia, received an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay of "Enemies, A Love Story."
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