Moderate and Radical Muslims: the Confused PBS View

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) doesn't want Americans to learn of radical Islam's war against moderate Muslims, such as Danish Member of Parliament Naser Khader, who are trying to reform and transport to the 21st century a faith born (and for a great many, stuck) in the 7th century.

"If [MP Khader] becomes the Minister of Foreigners or Integration, why don't we send out two guys to blow up him and his ministry," Danish Imam Ahmed Akkari said while being secretly taped by France 2 journalist Mohamed Sifaoui in March 2006. Once exposed, the 29-year-old Akkari denied his threat, but later claimed on tape, "It was a joke. I was joking." But Khader speaks Arabic, and it was no joke.


Ahmad Abu Laban, one of Akkari's radical compatriots, knowingly stated on tape that the West gives his radical co-religionists "a margin of freedom" in which to lobby politically to impose Islamic law on Western and Danish society, and "we use it."


Both of these radicals were taken out of commission in 2007---Akkari injured in an auto accident and Abu Laban died of cancer.


But a veritable army of radicals follow in their steps, as becomes clear after viewing a new 52-minute documentary, Islam versus Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center, screened privately in New York City on May 2 and for U.S. legislators in Washington D.C. on April 25 by producers Martin Burke, Alex Alexiev and Frank Gaffney.


The radicals and their Persian Gulf backers now dominate 80% of U.S. mosques and Muslim organizations, according to Sufi leader Hisham Kabbani, whom mainstream Muslim groups blackballed for testifying to the U.S. State Department in January 1999.


While admittedly using the Democratic process, Islamists reject and condemn Western Muslim legislators who respect secular governments and laud their separation from religion. "We openly condemn Muslims like [MP Khader]," stated Moroccan-born Danish citizen Said Mansour on tape, shortly before his terror-related 2005 arrest. (In 2007, he was convicted and sentenced.) "We will do our best to have an Islamic society." The vast majority of Muslims seek this, he says---and Islam "demands" it.


Khader is "not [a Muslim] any more," agrees Slimane Abdurmane, an Algerian-born Dane, former al Qaeda irregular and former Guantanamo internee. Since only Allah can make the law, any Muslim entering a human legislative body, he says, is no longer Muslim. "You're saying 'I'm just like Allah'."


In 2006, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) commissioned Islam vs. Islamism for a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series, "America at the Crossroads"---with a $675,000, taxpayer-funded grant. But in February, Washington D.C. PBS affiliate WETA, discarded the documentary as too "alarmist," effectively declaring it inappropriate for the entire PBS network---and taxpaying viewers nationwide. It is troubling that a single PBS affiliate can control a decision with such significant national import.


Accusing PBS of politically motivated censorship, the producers want PBS either to air the film nationally without censorship, or release it for alternative distribution. Senior CPB director of media relations, Louise Filkins, replied via e-mail that the film is unfinished---and that its producers never fulfilled "contractual obligations" or gave PBS with a "final version." She claimed, moreover, that it is "illegal" for CPB to comment on commissioned work, even in the case of suspected conflicts of interest.


And that is precisely the case here. WETA Crossroads producer Leo Eaton, who nixed the film, allegedly acted under the influence of his father, former British diplomat and Muslim convert Charles Le Gai Eaton. Furthermore, DePaul University Professor Aminah McCloud---a Nation of Islam associate and American Muslim Council board member---was one of a five-member committee that "veted" (read, "vetoed") the documentary.


According to producer Gaffney, the younger Eaton has "acknowledged" his father's influence---if so, a serious conflict of interest. Maybe Eaton le fils worries that the film could indirectly implicate his father, a.k.a. Hassan Abdul Hakeem; the latter commands respect from and associates with radical "religious leaders," who frequently pose as moderates---but regularly invoke demands that Islam control the world.


Islam vs. Islamism exposes the facade for example of Imam Ahmad Shqeirat the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix, Arizona,  who claims to be a "moderate," participating in interfaith activities and so on. But on camera, Shqeirat invokes his desire for a global Islamic state, which he claims "is not a threat to anybody.... Establishing Islamic law was a positive experience." Translation, Islamic imperialism is a "positive experience" for non-Muslims forced to comply with fiercely discriminatory medieval religious laws.


In 2004, Shqeriat vociferously opposed efforts by Tempe Muslim doctor Zuhdi Jasser to organize a 2004 Muslim rally opposing terrorism. A practicing Muslim, Jasser believes, "The mixture of politics and religion is toxic to our faith." To Shqeriat, however, Jasser is the "extremist." Indeed, his mosque newsletter ran a cartoon that depicted Jasser as a rabid, cannibalistic dog, eating Muslims.


Radicals normally pose as moderates, according to many middle class Western Muslims interviewed. The audacious radicals also often (successfully) label these moderate Muslims "extremists."


Overall, the film's content is disturbing, as it clearly portrays the call of radicals that Muslims impose Sharia on the West. Also disturbing is the mainstream media's overall silence regarding the duplicitous tactics of radical Muslims exposed in this film--and worse, that they continue to demonstrate little inclination to apply the same intense skepticism to the "representatives" of "mainstream" Muslim groups as they do in routine coverage of Western political, economic and religious leaders.


Small portions of the documentary's narrative amount to curve balls---such as the claim that modern radical Muslims have betrayed "traditional Islam," which was never previously so bloody or subversive. Actually, as outlined in Qur'an 9:29---and innumerable other Qur'anic passages and Islamic sacred texts [1]---"traditional" or "classical" Islam mandates that Muslims pursue war until such time as all non-Muslims have either converted or agreed to live under Islamic law---which requires them to pay heavy taxes, and accept permanent humiliation and degradation, along with very narrow strictures under which they can worship within their own faiths. Numerous serious histories also corroborate the warlike nature of traditional Islam, since its inception with Muhammed. [2]


The film's producers don't help Muslim reformers like Nasser Khader, France 2 journalist Sifaoui or Canadian Muslim Congress director Tarik Fatah by falsely asserting the contrary. Alex Alexiev, for example, claimed at the May 2 screening that Islam was "spread by the Sufis, not by the sword" throughout sub-Saharan Africa, southeast Asia, half of India, Turkey and Central Asia. Sufis are "very peaceful," Alexiev said.


However, Sufi history is every bit as bloody as the rest of Islamic history, as is clear from contemporary documents in The Legacy of Islamic Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims---and the incitements to war codified into law by the revered, "peaceful" medieval Sufi master, Al-Ghazali (d. 1111), in 1101 in the Wagjiz. Al-Ghazali exhorted Muslims, to


go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids) at least once a may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them...If a person of the Ahl al-Kitab [People of The Book - Jews and Christians, typically] is enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked...One may cut down their trees...One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide...they may steal as much food as they need...[3]


In any case, home viewers of Islam versus Islamism would quickly grasp both the prevalence and  totalitarian nature of radical Islamic goals. It seems that only a minority of Muslim individuals vocally seek a reformation to sever Islam from its perennial goal for global political and religious domination.


At least anecdotally, the film corroborates the findings of a face-to-face poll of more than 4,384 Muslims, in which about 66% supported radicalism and international Shari'a law. Otherwise, reformists wouldn't be threatened so often with death, nor could radicals even try to falsely pin the "extremist" label on Islam's real moderates. The University of Maryland and conducted the survey in late 2006 and early 2007 in Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco and Pakistan.


But PBS and CPB seem determined to prevent Americans from viewing this superb documentary account--funded by their tax dollars--concerning the influence and prevalence, respectively, of radical and moderate Muslims. American citizens have a right both to see the film---and to know why.


One thing is certain: the film is not "unfinished."

Alyssa A. Lappen is a senior fellow at the American Center for Democracy. Her website is



[1] Important Islamic sacred texts include the Qur'an (preferably in multiple translations, e.g. at, aHadith (the sayings and deeds of Muhammed, as reported by Sahih Muslim, Sahih al-Bukhari and others) Ibn Ishaq's Sira (Muhammed's oldest extant biography), The Laws of Islamic Governance (Muhammed Mawardi--d. 1058); Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat (Ahmad Ibn Lulu Ibn Al-Naqib--d. 1368) and Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Azim (Ibn Khatir's Qur'anic commentary)


[2] Excellent historical summaries include The Legacy of Islamic Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims (Dr. Andrew Bostom, 2005, Prometheus); Why I am Not a Muslim (Ibn Warraq, 1995, Prometheus); The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam (Bat Ye'or, Farleigh Dickenson University, 1985); The Decline and Fall of Eastern Christianity Under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude 7th-20th Century (Bat Ye'or, 1996, Farleigh Dickenson University Press) Eurabia: The Euro Arab Axis (Bat Ye'or, Farleigh Dickenson University, 2005); and the forthcoming Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: from Sacred Texts to Solemn History (Dr. Andrew Bostom, 2007, Prometheus).


[3] Al-Ghazali (d. 1111). Kitab al-Wagiz fi fiqh madhab al-imam al-Safi'i, Beirut, 1979, pp. 186, 190-91; 199-200; 202-203. [English translation by Dr. Michael Schub, provided by Dr. Andrew Bostom.]
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