Al-Jazeera consistently and misleadingly describes the Muslim Brotherhood as a “non-violent” organization.
Three years ago Accuracy in Media warned of the advent of “Terror Television,” noting that Al-Jazeera Arabic and English were fanning the flames of anti-Americanism and undermining U.S. allies in the Middle East. Our “Stop Al-Jazeera” website identified how, through clever manipulation of words and images, this was being accomplished. We released a major report on Al-Jazeera and produced a documentary on the subject.
The documentary, “Terror Television: The Rise of Al-Jazeera and the Hate America Media” featured evidence that Al-Jazeera inspired foreign Muslim fighters to go to places like Iraq and Afghanistan for the specific purpose of killing U.S. service members.
Our efforts gave many cable and satellite TV providers second thoughts about carrying the English version of the channel in U.S. media markets. Soon, one of Al-Jazeera’s Western faces, former ABC News reporter Dave Marash, resigned from the channel, citing its anti-Americanism.
“Al Jazeera makes a living blaming most problems in the Middle East on the USA and Israel,” Bill O’Reilly of Fox News has pointed out. “And any Arab leader who supports America is barbecued on the network, while those who hate America are praised.” He added, “Any fair-minded person who follows Al Jazeera knows it is anti-American and anti-Semitic. Only on the far left can it find acceptance.”
But now, as a result of what is happening in Egypt, Al-Jazeera and its media allies are leading a “Demand Al-Jazeera in the U.S.A.” campaign, as if the channel’s coverage is somehow objective and worthwhile. Newsweek gave valuable column space to Wadah Khanfar, director-general of Al-Jazeera, to argue that U.S. cable and satellite providers should make a special allowance for Al-Jazeera English to be carried in more media markets so that “alternative viewpoints” can be presented about “the human realities of war” in the Middle East. He complained about the Egyptian government-owned satellite company having blocked Al-Jazeera’s broadcast signal after turmoil emerged in that country without noting that Al-Jazeera is itself owned and financed by an Arab regime in Qatar that is just as authoritarian as Egypt’s. The channel is notorious for sparing Qatar’s ruling monarchy the scrutiny it selectively applies to other Arab regimes.
In fact, as AIM has reported, Al-Jazeera is already carried on the MHz Networks in the U.S. by the Comcast cable system.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which effectively controls Al-Jazeera, gave rise to terrorist organizations such as Hamas, officially designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the U.S. State Department. However, the Muslim Brotherhood is not an officially designated FTO.
The Muslim Brotherhood wants Egypt to unilaterally open the border with Gaza, a move that would facilitate arms shipments to Hamas and increase military pressure on Israel. A Congressional Research Service report noted, “Egypt sealed the border out of concern for the possibly destabilizing effects of Hamas’s relations with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which the government of President Mubarak considers a threat.”
Al-Jazeera consistently and misleadingly describes the Muslim Brotherhood as a “non-violent” organization. In return, the Muslim Brotherhood describes Al-Jazeera as “the greatest Arab media organization” and has published an interview with Wadah Khanfar, Al-Jazeera’s General Manager.
In the interview, Khanfar said, “We do not have any tense relations with the Egyptian government. We have an effective office in Egypt which is sending news from all viewpoints, whether from the government or the opposition…”
Citing inflammatory and biased coverage, the Egyptian government has since closed Al-Jazeera’s offices. Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman declared, “I actually blame certain friendly nations who have television channels, they are not friendly at all, who have intensified the youth against the nation and the state. They have filled in the minds of the youth with wrongdoings, with allegations, and this is unacceptable.”
One of those “friendly nations” is Qatar, where Al-Jazeera is based.
We noted in a 2008 column, “Al-Jazeera for Obama,” that the channel promoted Barack Obama’s candidacy for the presidency and that one of its reporters actually contributed financially to the Obama campaign.
We had published an August 24, 2006 commentary, “Al-Jazeera ‘Hijacked’ by Pro-Terrorist Muslim Brotherhood,” noting that Dr. Khaled Shawkat, director of the Netherlands-based Center for Promoting Democracy in the Arab World, said that Al-Jazeera was an historic opportunity to advance democracy in the Arab world but the opportunity has been lost.
This helps explain why Al-Jazeera has played a role in the rise of Hamas in the Palestinian territories and why its employees were arrested in Israel on suspicion of aiding Hezbollah. It also explains why the channel was infiltrated by and became a mouthpiece for al-Qaeda. Al-Jazeera correspondent Tayseer Alouni was actually imprisoned in Spain for being an agent of al-Qaeda.
For these and other reasons, as Bill O’Reilly mentioned in his commentary, it is mind-boggling that Sam Donaldson, the former ABC News anchor, said to a representative of Al-Jazeera: “Thank you for what you’re doing.”
Mamoun Fandy, an expert on the Arab media, has called Al-Jazeera “the Muslim Brotherhood channel.” His book, Uncivil War of Words: Media and Politics in the Arab World, notes that Al-Jazeera glorified Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Bannah, in a two-part documentary in 2006.
In 2003 testimony to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, he said Al-Jazeera’s reporters and correspondents constitute a “who is who in the rank and file of the [Muslim] brotherhood.”
“The Muslim brotherhood was the first Islamic organization with global reach,” he noted. “It currently has offices in Germany, France, Malaysia, and throughout the Arab world. Offices in the US can be found in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The record of destruction of the Muslim brotherhood leaves no doubt about their intentions.”
Looking at this record, he explained, “Their man in Algeria, Abbasi Madani, sowed the seeds of the civil war there. Members of FIS (the Islamic Salvation Front) and its offshoots like the GIA provided bin Laden with his core fighters. In Sudan, the leader of the Muslim brotherhood International, Hassan al-Turabi, brought Sudan to its current state of infamy. Another brotherhood leader, the Tunisian Rachid al Ghanoushi lives in London, where he leads the organization’s European branch. Sheikh Yaseen, the head of Hamas in Gaza is another Brotherhood member. Yousef al-Qaradawi in Qatar created the TV channel known as al-Jazeera that has amongst its reporters and correspondents who is who in the rank and file of the brotherhood. This is of course in addition to Sheikh Abdullah al-al Mutawai’ of Kuwait whose school gave us the spokesperson for al-Qaeda, Soleiman Abu Gheith, as well as financing radical movements from Bosnia to Africa to Chechnya.”
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the regular personalities on Al-Jazeera, encourages suicide bombings against Americans and has been banned from entering the U.S.
Fandy traced the 9/11 terrorist attacks to ideas propagated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood such as Sayid Qutob. “Currently, intellectuals of the Muslim brotherhood champion the Arab campaign of denial of responsibility for the September 11th attacks,” Fandy testified. “Their writings in the Arab world and even in this country have always argued that this is a proper response to US actions in the world.”
However, Al-Jazeera bureau chief Abderrahim Foukara appeared on ABC’s “This Week” program on January 30 and quoted former President Clinton Bill Clinton as saying that Al Jazeera was “a beacon of democracy.”
This prompted ABC’s Sam Donaldson, a panelist on the show, to say, “…thank you for what you’re doing. People say Al-Jazeera fanned the flames here by bringing the fact that democracy is in existence and that people are being suppressed. That’s what we need; we need more communication in the world. It’s not Al-Jazeera’s fault…”
Now, under pressure from Al-Jazeera and the Obama Administration, the Egyptian government is ceding some degree of power to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected]