What if they found the secret to world peace but no one got the memo?
That is precisely the question raised by the controversy surrounding the new documentary, Islam vs. Islamists. The one-hour investigative journalism piece was originally included in a project launched by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Like the other installments of the $20 million "America at a Crossroads" series, Islam vs. Islamists was produced with a large grant (in this case over $600,000 in taxpayer funds). Now, however, it has been buried by the CPB and its production outlet, PBS.
Why? Because the topic of the film is the question that so many of us have been asking since September 11, 2001: "Where are the moderate Muslims?" - and some don't like the answer one little bit.
Powerful interest groups, it turns out - some of whom govern a massive, oil-laden Arabian kingdom, some of whom simply do the kingdom's bidding, and some of whom blindly follow wherever the nose-ring of multiculturalism leads them - don't like the fact that the documentary reveals the extensive Saudi/Wahabbi money trail in the development of Islamic institutions in the U.S., and exposes the widespread conspiracy against Islamic reformers. Thus there has been pressure on PBS and the CPB to spike the film. At the moment, PBS refuses to broadcast Islam vs. Islamists, and the only way most Americans will ever see it is if CPB releases the rights so the film can be distributed through other channels. (See below on how to make that happen).
Today in DC, the film's producers and two of its key subjects held a private screening and panel discussion. There will be a follow up here shortly, but first the basic message.
Bottom line: Moderate Muslims in Europe and North America are under unbelievable pressure to shut up. Leaders promoting the compatibility of Islam and democracy who speak out do so at the risk of their livlihoods and lives, and consequently the vast, silent majority of Muslims who are perfectly content in Western society have no choice but to "look at politics through an Islamist lens." Islamism - or political Islam - is the dominant ideology spread via the mosques and (maybe unwittingly) by the media. Those seeking a reformation in Islam are having a devil of a time getting their voices heard.
The stakes are high: The Islamist leaders interviewed in the film - all prominent, "mainstream" Muslim leaders in Europe and the U.S. - state unapologetically that their aim is to impose shariah law on western societies.
It is an amazing irony that modern "liberals" have been so slow to support the reformation within Islam. A key irony is that the media have allowed Islamists to import an immensely uncivil agenda under the auspices of supposed "civil rights." As one of the subjects in the documentary states, "the entire struggle is about the rights of women." Does anyone in the West actually need a slap in the face to appreciate this?
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, Arizona cardiologist and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and one of the true heroes of our age, issued a plea this afternoon
...from the majority in the West that understand what it is to separate religion and politics, that understand that somebody can be even more pious and more religious by not having government coerce what we believe, that understand our religion can be a source of law but not the source of law, all of these aspects that are part of the Christian Enlightenment or Western Enlightenment: I've been taught by my grandfather that it can happen in Islam.
There will be another screening of the film tonight, Wednesday, April 25, for our congressmen and senators. Please take a moment to send a note to your representatives encouraging them to go watch this documentary tonight at the Rayburn office building (they have received invitations with details). ASK THEM TO TELL THE CPB TO PUT IT ON THE AIR VIA PBS OR RELEASE IT FOR FURTHER DISTRIBUTION.
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