Muslims urged to buy influence in world media
RIYADH (Reuters) - Muslim tycoons should buy stakes in global media outlets to help change anti-Muslim attitudes around the world, ministers from Islamic countries heard at a conference in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
Information ministers and officials meeting under the auspices of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the world's largest Islamic body, said Islam faced vilification after the September 11 attacks, when 19 Arabs killed nearly 3,000 people in U.S. cities in 2001.Let's put aside the current pro-Arab slant of the media that brought us ReutersGate has consistently bent to the will of Moslem pressure and threats.
"Muslim investors must invest in the large media institutions of the world, which generally make considerable profits, so that they have the ability to affect their policies via their administrative boards," OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told the gathering in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
"This would benefit in terms of correcting the image of Islam worldwide," he said, calling on Muslim countries to set up more channels in widely-spoken foreign languages.
Muslim stakes in Western media are minimal. Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns 5.46 percent of media conglomerate News Corp., the Rupert Murdoch-run group behind the Fox News Channel. The U.S. channel is generally seen as right-wing and no friend of Arab or Muslim interests.
Washington's response to September 11, invading Afghanistan and Iraq and tightening civil freedoms at home as part of a wider "war on terror", has created a widespread feeling among Muslims worldwide that their religion is under attack.
A row earlier this year over Danish cartoons that depicted the Prophet Mohammed deepened the sense of a divide between Islamic culture and the West.
"The fierce attack on Islam in the five years since the September 11 attacks has forced us into a defensive position on our faith and understanding of our tolerant religion," Egyptian Information Minister Anas el-Feki said in a speech.
"Now more than ever we need a new Islamic media message that reaches all parts of the world," Feki said, citing Israel's recent 34-day war in Lebanon as one issue where Muslims needed to make their views and influence felt. [emphasis added]
The story on its face is misleading. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's stake in Fox News is hardly minimal. From December of last year:
Al-Walid also criticised US media which he described as "in general ... pro-Israel." But he also accused Arabs of not being pro-active in fighting the allegedly slanted media.Only 30 minutes?
He said that during last month's street protests in France, the US television network Fox -- owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in which Al-Walid himself has shares -- ran a banner saying: "Muslim riots."
"I picked up the phone and called Murdoch... (and told him) these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty," he said.
"Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots."
Maybe Reuters should make that:
Muslims urged to buy even more influence in world media
Another issue is the potetial election of the first Muslim to the US Congress--Keith Ellison of Minnesota. Nothing wrong with that, except for the groups he is accepting help--and money--from.
Joel Mowbray notes that Ellison has received help from CAIR:
Two of its officials have been convicted on terrorism charges, and as an organization, while CAIR forcefully attacks critics of radical Islam, it has yet to condemn by name any Islamic terror organization other than al Qaeda—which it denounced only reluctantly several months after 9/11.Mowbray points out that Ellison has also received aid from other questionable sources:
CAIR’s former communications and civil rights coordinator was convicted in 2004 on terror-related charges of plotting to wage violent jihad against the U.S., and the founder of its Texas branch last year was convicted of terror-related charges.
Also of concern are other contributors to Ellison’s campaign.
* Shahzeb Gaziani gave $500 on July 22. He is an official with the Peace and Justice Foundation, whose president was a featured speaker at a December 2004 event titled, “A tribute to the great Islamic visionary Ayatollah Khomenei.” Khomenei, of course, called America the “Great Satan,” was responsible for the kidnappings of Americans at the Embassy in Tehran, and his regime helped create Hezbollah.Mowbray also did a five part piece on Ellison at Powerline. In the last part, Mowbray writes that
* Esam Omeish, who gave $500, is president of the Muslim American Society, which authorities believe is the political front in the U.S. for the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the ideological forerunner of al Qaeda and many other Islamic terrorist organizations.
* Samir Abo Issa gave $500 on July 22. In 2003, he helped post bail for Abdelhaleem Ashqar, who is now facing trial on terror-related money laundering charges.
A Minnesotan who does not support Keith Ellison e-mailed me his contention that I needed "something more damning than a list of checks." The problem with Keith Ellison winning the Democratic primary tomorrow in the very blue MN-05 district is much more than just the people from whom he's receivedIt is not about denying the right to fight anti-Moslem sterotypes.
Ellison has tried to downplay his history with the Nation of Islam and its ugly penchant for racism and anti-Semitism. His willing association currently with people who are self-identified Hamas supporters, such as Awad, or any of his ilk undercuts any claim that Ellison has genuinely evolved. Anyone truly outraged by hatemongering or anti-Semitism would never accept money donated or collected by the likes of Awad, let alone stand next to him as he headlines a fundraiser.
But beyond that, we need to recognize on this 5th anniversary of 9/11 that our war is not just a military struggle or even one against supporters of terrorism. People like Nihad Awad, Shahzeb Gaziani, and Esam Omeish cannot be allowed into legitimate circles.
It's not enough to oppose "terrorism." One must also be vocal in opposing the root cause of most terrorism today: radical Islamic theology which demonizes Jews, Christians, and Americans, and holds that any non-Islamic government is inherently illegitimate.
Awad, CAIR, and Muslim-American Society, among others, are extremely vocal in their opposition, but never against radical Islam, only against its critics. They serve as the intimidation industry, doing their best to stifle even legitimate debate. They have successfully instilled fear in the media and government, which is precisely why Ellison's past with the Nation of Islam received such scant attention in the local mainstream media. Had it not been for Minnesota Democrats Exposed or Power Line, local MSM likely would have ignored it altogether.
Make no mistake about it: CAIR is an enemy of free speech, and thus an obstacle in our struggle to preserve freedom. A genuine Muslim civil rights organization could have been beneficial not just to Muslims, but the public at large. But that's not the path chosen by CAIR, who instead primarily savages critics of radical Islam, while maintaining silence on Islamic terrorism and its root cause.
CAIR already enjoys far too much legitimacy for an organization founded by two men who have both expressed explicit support for Islamic terrorism. Imagine what would happen if CAIR's executive director can claim credit for helping elect the first-ever Muslim Congressman.
It is not about denying a Muslim the opportunity to be elected to Congress.
It is about recognizing the existence of radical Islamism, both around the world and here in the United States--and combatting it even as we acknowledge that radical Islamism does not speak on behalf of all Moslems.
CAIR is part of the problem, not the solution.
Keith Ellison has shown signs of ignoring the existence of the problem.
The issue is not Moslem influence; it is what they are doing with it.