By now many have heard about Al Jazera's recent acquisition of Current TV, Al Gore's floundering television network that has, since its inception in 2005, displayed not only abysmal ratings but also blatant anti-Israel and anti-U.S. bias.
Ironically, TheBlaze sought to purchase Current, but was rebuffed by its executives who stated that they could not in good conscience sell out to a network whose point of view was not aligned with theirs. Thus, the only reasonable step for Gore and company was to seal a multi-million dollar deal with Al Jazeera, because, according to Current co-founder Joel Hyatt, the Qatar-based network "was founded with the same goals we had for Current."
So what, exactly, are those shared goals and values? And what might a revamped Al Jazeera-led lineup at the new (and likely not so improved) Current TV look like?
A glimpse at Al Jazeera's highest-rated program to date might give us an inkling into what lies ahead and it is cringe-inducing (though not surprising) to say the least.
Current: Meet Muslim Brotherhood spiritual sherpa and Al Jazeera's top performing Islamic televangelist Youssef al-Qaradawi, best known for repeatedly twisting the Holocaust into a mold that suits his Islamic agenda and for declaring that his greatest hope is simply to live long enough to "shoot dead Allah's enemies, the Jews." The prolific imam has also issued hundreds of fatwas on everything from homosexuality to music to the role of female suicide bombers in their noble pursuit of jihad.
In light of Hyatt's disturbing statement concerning his network's shared goals with Al Jazeera, it is perhaps prudent to review the latter's star talent, who has graced the homes of some 60 million viewers for the past 15 years with his weekly program "Shariah and Life."
Returning to Qaradawi's long-harbored desire to live long enough so that Allah might grant him the singular opportunity of personally slaying Jewish people, the imam stated during a televised speech:
“I’d like to say that the only thing I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of Jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair. I will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life with martyrdom. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Allah’s mercy and blessings upon you.”
According to Qaradawi, for their inherent "evil," Allah imposed upon the Jews a series of "punishments," the last one led by Adolf Hitler "by means of all the things he did to them."
"He [Hitler] managed to put them in their place."
“This [the Holocaust] was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers," Qaradawi stated proudly during a televised broadcast in 2009.
The imam openly praised the fuhrer for teaching the Jews "a divine lesson" while in the same breath minimizing the Holocaust by saying that the Jewish people have "exaggerated the issue."
So, the imam uses the Shoah in a way that suits him, in a way that furthers his agenda, while at the same time denying the true extent of the carnage lest he engender any "undue" sympathy for the Jewish people.
Anti-Semitic diatribes such as the one featured above are just a small taste of what Qaradawi has offered on his weekly Sunday broadcasts.
So who is Qaradawi?
According to lore, Qaradawi is no ordinary imam or mufti, having allegedly memorized the entire Quran by age 10. He was born in Egypt in 1926, graduated from Al Azhar University in Cairo and by 1942 joined the Muslim Brotherhood, the grandfather of all major militant Islamic groups including Hamas, Hezbollah and al Qaeda.
The imam was arrested several times for the activities he carried out while with the Brotherhood and subsequently fled to Qatar in 1961, where he still resides. He has become the preeminent Muslim (or at least Sunni) "authority" on all things Islam, covering a range of topics from "mother's milk banks" to the right of every Palestinian woman to offer herself up as a suicide-bombing martyr.
Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood
Qaradawi's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood stem back to his days as a student at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, where he met Brotherhood-founder (and not coincidentally, Hitler admirer) Hassan al-Banna. Banna was perhaps the first to offer Qaradawi a glimpse into alternative views on the handling of societies ills and "perversions."
Despite living in exile in Qatar -- something that is more than likely to change now that his progeny,
Mohammed Morsi is at the helm in Egypt -- Qaradawi has the Brotherhood leader's ear, acting as his key spiritual adviser. While the imam turned down an official position with the Brotherhood, allegedly because he felt his true calling was to evangelize Islam, he still greatly influences the grandfather of all jihadist groups to this day, and in no small way.
Consider that as recently as 2010 Morsi viciously referred to Israeli Jews as "blood-suckers" and "descendants of apes and pigs," invoking age-old anti-Semitic slurs. Here, we see Hitler's influence via al Banna and later, Qaradawi, weaving its web of hate and vitriol over today's Islamic leaders.
Morsi called on Muslims "outside Palestine" to "support the resistance fighters and besiege the Zionist wherever they are."
"None of the Arab or Muslim peoples and regimes should have dealings with them," the Egyptian president went on to state. "Pressure should be exerted upon them. They must not be given any opportunity, and must not stand on any Arab or Islamic land. They must be driven out of our countries."
So how does Qaradawi's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood relate to Al Jazeera and now by default, Current TV? According to David Reaboi, vice president for strategic communications at the Center for Security Policy, both network's programing have shown some rather specific parallels concerning the Muslim Brotherhood from as early as the onset of the Arab Spring. In a statement to TheBlaze, Reaboi noted that both Current and Al Jazeera, "presented the Muslim Brotherhood's takeover in Egypt as a democratic revolution."
"Both networks pushed provably false narratives about the future of Egypt's 'democracy,' its ideological makeup, and demonized those who correctly assessed the situation," he continued.
"Qaradawi's role in mobilizing public and nation-state support for the Islamic ascendancy, from Tunisia through Egypt, Libya, Syria and beyond, cannot be overstated. When Qaradawi declared Gadhafi and Assad 'unIslamic,' it was not just his estimated 60 million viewers who got the message."
Reaboi added that Qaradawi's fatwa helped inform the Obama administration in its calculation about views from the "Arab Street" on such issues. Thus, the imam's influence is indeed far-reaching and has the power to effect change in a negative way.
Fatwa du jour
Qaradawi has issued hundreds of fatwas (legal rulings), both on his own and as head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS). The consummate forward-thinker, the 86-year-old cedes that a women may even remove her hijab, or head-covering, whilst engaged in a martyrdom exercise as jihad is considered the greatest gift of all to Allah.
"Even when necessary, she may take off her hijab in order to carry out the operation, for she is going to die in the cause of Allah and not to show off her beauty or uncover her hair," the imam declared in a 2004 interview that originally appeared on his websites IslamOnline.net and Qaradawi.net.
"I don't see any problem in her taking off the hijab in this case. To conclude, I think the committed Muslim women in Palestine have the right to participate and have their own role in jihad and to attain martyrdom."
Qaradawi has also issued a controversial fatwa on homosexuality, maintaining that there is merit in some Muslim jurists' opinion that those engaged in such an "abominable practice" be put to death.
"While such punishments may seem cruel, they have been suggested to maintain the purity of the Islamic society and to keep it clean of perverted elements," he stated plainly.
Through his myriad fatwas, sermons, speeches and interviews, Qaradawi, who has been banned from entering the U.S. since 1999, has revealed the face of evil in no uncertain terms. He is the catalyst behind the violent "days of rage" protests against Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and accused Pope Benedict XVI of "fitna" (Arabic for sedition), which, for Islamists, is not even a veiled call to wage jihad on the Papacy.
Through the IUMS, Qaradawi called on the Pope to apologize for the Christian Crusades and for his 2006 lecture at the University of Regensburg in which he quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor critical of the Ottoman-led holy war on Constantinople. Reciting a line from the emperor's speech made centuries earlier, the Pope stated:
"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
This, of course, was not taken lightly by Qaradawi and his sycophants at the IUMS. The Pope's comments were characterized as "false accusations about Islam and its magnificent Messenger" and he was promptly accused of sedition.
Among his other fatwas du jour, Qaradawi has prohibited Sudanese Muslims from joining their Christian counterparts in efforts to break from the brutal sharia-led Khartoum regime and he has emphatically called on the world's Muslims -- even those in America -- to "prosecute" anyone who dares slander Islam, particularly the Prophet Muhammed. The imam is especially preoccupied with Coptic Christians, along with the creators of the low-budget YouTube video "Innocence of Muslims" and Quran-burning Pastor Terry Jones.
"The Union calls on Muslims in America and throughout the world to take action and make claims against all those responsible and who contributed in the production of this work , and to immediately start legal action to prosecute all those who offend Islam, because such an ugly deed should never be allowed under the banner of freedom of expression, but should be considered a violation of the rights of Muslims and an attack on Islamic symbols and holy sites," a IUMS statement read.
The imam has also called on the Organisation of Islamic Conference, a 56 (57 if one counts the Palestinian Authority) Islamic member-country body that sets practices for the "ummah" or entire Muslim community, to "adopt lawsuits" against anyone who slanders the prophet, wherever in the world he or she may live.
Al Jazeera's veteran televangelist has waged similar crusades on music, dancing, mother's milk and just about anything under the sun that he believes sharia-law should address. Islamic scholar Dr. Andrew Bostom provided TheBlaze with a small cross-section of additional positions held by the rabidly anti-Semitic imam:
- That Muslims emulate their prophet Muhammad as a model for violent, expansionist jihad, which includes the sanctioning of so-called jihad “martyrdom operations”
- The re-creation of a formal transnational United Islamic State (Islamic Caliphate)
- The jihad conquests of Europe and the Americas
- Universal application of the sharia, including Islamic blasphemy law and hudud (Islamic term for sharia-driven punishments). This includes executing so-called “apostates.”
- Homicide “martyrdom” bombings of all Israeli Jews, including non-combatants, and subsequently, invoking Hitler and expanding the circle of hatred, a call for jihad-genocide of all Jews
Qaradawi, who also serves as president of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, has penned more than a 120 books and doctrines in addition to his countless fatwas, making his website and indeed, weekly Al Jazeera program, a kind of "one-stop-shop" for Muslims seeking dogma that will support their respective crusades.
The new Current TV
For over a decade, those who've a radar for media bias have locked their sights on Al Jazeera for the network's numerous journalistic infractions, particularly when it comes to its flagrant anti-Israel, anti-Western bent. But such bias is to be expected from a news outlet that was suspiciously first to air Osama bin Laden's 9/11 video in which he praised and explained the attacks that claimed the lives of 3,000 innocent people.
Al Jazeera never explained how or where it obtained the bin Laden video and refused to share information that might have led to the al Qaeda mastermind's capture. David Horowitz's Discover the Networks website noted that Al Jazeera refused to stop airing the tape despite U.S. concerns that the footage might have contained coded messages signaling to other al Qaeda operatives.
Al Jazeera has also perpetuated various blood libels, including the conspiracy theory that Jews in America had been forewarned of the impending 9/11 attacks and did naught to stop it. The network even brought on former Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party leader David Duke as an "expert" on how the Mossad knew of the 9/11 attack plan well in advance and had warned Jews to evacuate the World Trade Center before it was too late. When a Swedish news outlet published the conspiracy theory that Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians, including children, to harvest their organs, Al Jazeera published it as fact. The list goes on.
While it is no secret that Current TV has thus far operated from the left-field of the political spectrum, how can its executives, including Al Gore, a man who once ran for president of the United States, truly find their interests aligned with a network that props up a rabid anti-Semite who condones suicide bombings and calls for the execution of gays and lesbians, and has, through even its more "mainstream" broadcasts, propagated blood libel? Not exactly progressive thinking by anyone's standards.
Despite Current's consistently low ratings, with this acquisition, Al Jazeera will now reach 40 million U.S. homes, a reported 9-fold increase in its current American-reach. By the network's own admission, Al Jazeera will "significantly expand its distribution footprint in the U.S."
As Islamists seek to gain entry into U.S. life, they've been bestowed a brand new vehicle with which to spread their anti-Israel, anti-Western message, and all with the blessing of an American news outlet.
(h/t: Charles C. Johnson)