What if they found the secret to world peace but no one got the memo?

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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).

zuhdi_jasser_042407_sm.jpg
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser (Muslim reformer): I still don't understand why the most simple thing that the militant Islamists are using is to get under the cover of a religion in America - they know that in our American discourse we really protect our faiths. Our forefathers came to America in order to be able to practice their faith freely. And it seems sometimes that the Islamists almost get that more than we do, because they use that to hide a political ideology. And what happens then is there's no discourse, there's no debate. We're almost six years since 9-11 and this debate is not happening yet.

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.

Contact your senator here.

Contact your congressman here.

More background:

Democratic Muslims

Curtain raised on documentary PBS shelved

Islam vs. Islamists

The Mainstream Media: Islamist Facilitators

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3 Comments

Ted said:

What's that famous liberal line about speaking truth to power?
I guess it only applies when you know the "power" you're speaking to won't try to kill you because it doesn't like what you're saying.
When the "power" you're speaking the truth to doesn't like what you're saying and has followers with a troubling tendency to blow themselves up trying to kill you or loping off the heads of those with whom it disagrees I guess it doesn't apply.
Courage, thy name is liberalism.
Oh well.

stay puft said:

Hey Joe,

I guess you thought it was Reasonable (note the capital R) not to provide any information from CPB about why the film didn't make the cut. Luckily, I listen to shock jock Diane Rehm, who interviewed the host of "America at the Crossroads" Robert MacNeil a few weeks ago:

http://wamu.org/audio/dr/07/04/r2070403-13151.asx

This "Islam vs Islamist" thing comes up around minute 47 of the interview

No I have all the information about why the CPB says it is burying the film. That will all have to wait till I have time for a longer post. Here's a hint: It's bogus.

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