Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Al Jazeera problem

Ever since Al Jazeera TV began its English-language broadcasts in November 2006, a section of media and liberal opinion in the UK and US has greeted the new news channel, with its extensive list of high-profile Western broadcasters and journalists, as a respectable source of information and analysis related to events in the Middle East. The Independent newspaper even offers readers of its website a daily broadcast of the Al Jazeera headlines. During the Gaza conflict, there was a consensus among "right-thinking" media people that the channel was to be congratulated on its coverage, which was all the more sought after because of the fact that it was one of the few news outlets able to beat the Israeli security blackout.

Now, however, it appears that Al Jazeera has begun to broadcast statements by figures in the Islamic world which are clearly not only inflammatory, but also obviously aimed at stirring up anti-Semitism and extremism in the West, In a recent statement, the Islamic cleric Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi called for a Second Holocaust and openly endorsed the policies of Adolf Hitler:

Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.

Why is Al Jazeera promoting this kind of material? And what is the reaction of those British, American and European journalists and media personalities who have put their names and talents to work for the channel?

Via Harry's Place

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