American War Museum and Al-Jazeera
Located in Maine, the General Henry Knox Museum finds itself in the news lately as it is slated to honor Al-Jazeera's Washington Bureau Chief Abderrahim Foukara at its 2011 Gala event. According to the museum, "Foukara completed a BA in English in his native Morocco before moving to the UK where he completed a PhD in African studies. In 1990, he joined the BBC World Service where, over the next nine years, he worked as producer, reporter, anchor and journalism instructor...." He has also been a "frequent guest on National Public Radio's The Diane Rehm Show, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, and MSNBC."
Yet, Brigitte Gabriel of Act for America is mobilizing to oppose the appearance of Al-Jazeera's Bureau Chief and the group Accuracy in Media ponders why "an American museum devoted to patriotism" would consider "honoring a representative of a foreign-funded channel, described ... as 'Jihad television' by Middle East expert Walid Phares."
Is this a knee-jerk reaction or is there valid concern for such an appearance?
Qatar own and funds Al-Jazeera. There is no freedom of the press in Qatar and WikiLeaks cables note that "U.S. officials consider the channel to be a foreign policy instrument of Qatar." The Qatarai emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani uses the network as "an integral tool of the emirate's foreign policy."
In fact, at a conference in June 2011 at the National Press Club, the panel of experts concluded that "the network [Al Jazeera] is often used by terrorists to deliver their messages to the world" and has "actually helped radical [groups] such as al-Qaida, Hezb'allah and Hamas in their efforts to radicalize Muslims."
The Al-Jazeera Arabic language network has "frequently served as a mouthpiece for Muslim Brotherhood figures" according to conference members. Furthermore, independent TV producer Jerry Kenney alleges that "[i]n effect, foreign propagandists have hijacked public television stations made possible by the American taxpayers." He voiced concern that in the past "public TV stations adhered to production standards that put a substantial emphasis on accuracy in content" but he affirms "obviously something has changed."
In February 2011, Foukara was interviewed by the Washington Post. Here, in part, is the Q/A of a portion of the interview (emphasis added).
Q: Good morning, Mr. Foukara. A question about the Muslim Brotherhood. As I recall a professor from maybe Switzerland, who was a member of this group, was hired by Notre Dame a few years back and the Bush administration refused him a visa.. That would suggest an attitude of mindless, knee-jerk fear toward the group, even in the form of a single professor. What is the Obama administration's attitude to them? Wouldn't they represent, even if they came to power, a sensible Islamist approach to running things--more like Turkey than the Taliban? Thanks.
Abderrahim Foukara: Response
For 30 years, Mubarak's government has been saying that if they opened up the political game in Egypt, then the main beneficiary would be the Muslim Brotherhood, which would threaten not just the interests of Egypt, but the interests of the United States in the Middle East. The fear of the Muslim Brotherhood is shared by many people inside of Egypt in the wider Arab world, and obviously in the West, including in the United States. What we have seen in Egypt over the past two weeks is what many Egyptians describe as a revolution, led not by the Muslim Brotherhood, but initially by disaffected young Egyptians who want better living conditions, but they also want democracy. Although religious parties have now become part of that wave in ways that we cannot always calculate with exact precision, there are indicators that tell us that the people who may be calling the shots in a future government in Egypt will be, in addition to the religious parties, many other movements of different affiliations, some of them secular, but also the role of the Army will be very important, whatever happens in Egypt, and that raises the comparison with either Pakistan or Turkey. Obviously, many Egyptians are hoping that the example of Turkey will prevail, because that has allowed a religious party not just to rule, but to modernize Turkey and to make it a regional power that works in tandem with the Europeans, Americans and others, even as it satisfies the political and economic aspirations of its own people in Turkey.
Given the Washington Post's less than even-handed approach to events in the Middle East as indicated by the very loaded question, the reader should note the last few lines where Foukara states that the religious party would not only rule but would also modernize Egypt. For an alleged impartial reporter, surely Mr. Foukara should know that the Muslim Brotherhood's only goal is Islamification of the world, not the sharing of values by disparate groups.
In June of 2009 Zvi Mazel of the Jerusalem Post posed the question, "Is Al Jazeera part of the Muslim Brothers' program?" He posits that one of the key reasons for Qatar establishing Al Jazeera is because it allowed the Middle Eastern country to become a more serious player in the region. Yet, according to Mazel, "there was never any doubt about the network's political orientation. Al Jazeera immediately launched scathing attacks on Israel...and went on to incendiary broadcasts against the US" to an audience which comprises 60 million viewers.
Although Al-Jazeera's English station mutes some of the rhetoric heard on the Arab station, "[t]he meteoric rise of the network and its increasing popularity have led many political and media commentators in the Arab world to wonder who or what exactly was behind what appears to be its main purpose: encouraging opposition and promoting incitement against Arab regimes, exposing the corruption of their leaders and their entourage, while holding to an extreme Arab nationalist attitude against the United States and Israel and extolling the values of conservative -- and sometimes extremist -- Islam. It did not take long for one name to emerge: that of the Muslim Brothers."
Though initially "Al Jazeera was indeed seen at the outset as the harbinger of a new era in the Arab world.... it took only a short time to understand that this was not Al Jazeera's purpose. The channel does not encourage openness. It has its own agenda. It has become a weapon in the hands of an ambitious emir who may be driven by the Muslim Brothers and who is threatening the stability of the Middle East. It could very well be that Qatar has become part of the 'dark empire' of the Brothers, weaving its way behind the scenes to achieve the impossible goal of imposing Islam through persuasion, subversion, destabilization, lies and distortion of reality, and eventually using force."
Given Obama's embracing of the Muslim Brotherhood despite its mission of destruction against democracies, and the infiltration of Islamist appointees in the White House, what exactly would be the purpose of the General Henry Knox Museum in honoring an individual who represents a news organization with disturbing ties to the Muslim Brotherhood?
Has Mr. Foukara penned a biography about Henry Knox? The Museum claims that Foukara is "well versed in the history of the founding of his adopted country, and is able to weave that historical perspective into modern foreign relations." What exactly does this mean?
Foukara has stated that the "U.S. should engage in talks with Hamas," the terror organization committed to destroying Israel. Won't such an award "bestow respectability upon the practices of the Arabic language network in Qatar" which continues to broadcast Sheik Qaradawi's teachings which include the killing of every last Jew in the world?
On the other hand, wouldn't freedom be better-served if people attended this gala event and asked the pointed questions that need to be asked? Isn't it better to expose the connections, the deceptive tactics, and the machinations of groups opposed to America and Israel? Isn't it more productive to hammer away with questions and analyze the responses?
If Foukara is not allowed to speak, will this feed into the propaganda of Islamists who claim that Americans are hypocritical and do not permit Arabs to speak? Why make a martyr of this man? Let the facts speak for themselves. In fact, my article would not have materialized if it were not for the fact that I read about his proposed appearance and decided to investigate further.
The more the American people know about Islamic lawfare, shariah financing, infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood, and shariah law being used in America, then the more dedicated will be the desire to fight against all of it. Aren't these the larger issues that Americans need to clamor about? Are Americans demanding that their representatives sign H.R. 973 which would prevent the misuse of foreign law in federal courts? Are Americans questioning banks about their connections to shariah compliant financing? After all, Citibank is the #1 player in the Islamic banking market yet how many Americans understand the implications of this? Do Americans know what zakat means within shariah-compliant financing?
How many Americans have made the connections between shariah imposed law in Europe and the creeping shariah that is occurring in the United States? Why don't Americans demand better coverage by the media so that the soft-pedaling of Al-Jazeera does not gain a foothold? Why don't Americans march and demand accountability of a president who befriends America's enemies?
The first step is learning the language and strategy of the adversary in order to defeat it completely. As Daniel Pipes has stated, "[p]eople are so focused on terrorism that they don't pay attention to the insidious educational, media, legal and political growth of radical Islam in the West as a whole, in the United States in particular."
What say you?
Eileen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.