Tuesday, April 10, 2007

PBS silences moderate Muslims

The producer of a tax-financed documentary on Islamic extremism claims his film has been dropped for political reasons by PBS.

The documentary,Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center dealt largely with the struggle between moderate Muslims condemning violence perpetrated in the name of Islam, and fundamentalist imams condemning moderate Muslims as false Muslims.

It was supposed to be part of an 11-part series of documentaries titled America at a Crossroads. It is described by PBS as "a major public television event . . . that explores the challenges confronting the post-9/11 world," and much of what it explores is the clash of Western values and those of fundamentalist Muslims.

Islam vs. Islamists was supposed to be one segment of that series, one that dealt with the plight of moderate Muslims living in the West and their clashes with Muslim fundamentalists.

Among other things, the documentary showed fundamentalists talking candidly about shutting up the moderate `false Muslims'. And, in one case involving a moderate Muslim politician in Denmark, it caught them talking about actually murdering him.

So why wouldn't PBS be interested in airing this story?

Basically, it was because the powers that be at PBS felt that it was `intolerant' to declare certain Muslims `moderate' and certain Muslims `extremist'. And PBS wasn't about to take a stand criticizing jihadis as `extremist'.

All a matter of context, you know. Just depends which end of the telescope you're looking through.

"We felt the program was flawed by incomplete storytelling and problems with fairness," said Jeff Bieber, executive producer of the Crossroads series. "We felt the writing was alarmist and without adequate context...we just felt there was incomplete context, (that) could lead viewers to the wrong conclusions."

One of the moderate Muslims profiled in Islam vs. Islamists is Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of Phoenix, a navy veteran, a devout Muslim and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), a non-profit organization of Muslim Americans who advocate patriotism, constitutional democracy and a separation of church and state and calls for Muslims to take an active role in combating Islamism and terrorism.

The story of his and others' courage in persisting in spite of death threats and demonization at the hands of Islamists is apparently part of what PBS had a problem with. They were simple unable to make a moral choice between people like Jasser and the fundamentalists whom the Jassers of the world oppose.

The other part has to do with Leftist witch hunting,plain and simple.

According to the producer, Martyn Burke, the production of Islam vs. Islamists received opposition from PBS from the very beginning.

"I've worked for networks all over the world, and I've never seen anything like this," Burke said.

Early last year, conservative foreign-policy expert Frank Gaffney won approval from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the parent organization of PBS, to pursue this project as part of the Crossroads series.

But by mid-summer of 2006, the Crossroads producers were badgering Burke to fire Gaffney and his partner, Alex Alexiev. Burke says it was specifically because of Gaffney's conservative politics.

"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.

"Never before have I been asked, 'Don't you check into the politics of the people you're working with?' " wrote Burke in his letter. "Years ago I did a two-hour documentary on the Hollywood Ten. I felt as if I was living in that same era of blacklisting."

Things got stranger still as production of Islam vs. Islamists continued.

Burke says that the fight over "context" and the issue of his co-producers' politics caused a seven-month delay in funding. Then, the PBS producers hired a five-member team of consultants to review all the segments of the Crossroads series - among them Dr. Aminah Beverly McCloud of DePaul University who teaches a course on Islam in the United States.

She reportedly screened a cut of Islam vs. Islamists for a group of Nation of Islam leaders, who were part of the focus of the documentary . According to an e-mail from McCloud to Burke, "These representatives (of the Nation of Islam) were outraged at the implications here and assert that if this airs, they will promptly pursue litigation."

You have to know you're getting close to the truth when Louis Farrakhan's people are uncomfortable.

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."

Oddly enough, the `liberals' at PBS are of like mind with the Bush Administration they despise on this subject in likewise failing to provide legitimacy for loyal,peaceloving Muslims. They are embracing the racist notion that all Muslims think the same and that groups like CAIR, the MPAC and the Nation of Islam represent the official Muslim viewpoint.


Anonymous said...

You are also pretty close to the truth when you elect and support self-proclaimed biggots like Dick Cheney to office.

Freedom Fighter said...

Thanks for providing some ( no doubt unintended) humor to today's comments, anonymous.

BTW, I know I'll regret this...but I'd love to read your rationale about Dick Cheney being a `bigot', seeing as the Bush Administration, whatever it's flaws has put more minorities in high level positions than any other in history.

Hard facts only please...no conjecture, OK?

Anonymous said...

maybe anon can tell us what a troll does the rest of the time.
make completely off topic comments in a thread that didn't even mention everyones favorite huntn' buddy.
maybe they should rename the series "america in the crosshairs".

Freedom Fighter said...

Looks like ya got nothing `anonymous'....as I suspected.