Al Jazeera Boosts Beheadings
Posted September 28, 2004
By Youssef M. Ibrahim
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Imagine a television talk show where the hosts debate the merits and demerits of cannibalism, discussing whether it is good to kill people to eat their flesh, liver and hearts -- seriously, on the air on prime time.
This past Tuesday, Feyssal Al Qassem, the infamous anchorman of Al Jazeera's program "Counter Direction," or "Alti jah Al Muaakess," went well beyond.
Al Qassem hosted an Egyptian guest who over an entire hour was allowed to advocate, with sickening insistence, the beheading of hostages in Iraq as a legitimate act of resistance to what he called "these American dogs," regardless of whether the captives -- who are of many different nationalities -- are military personnel, civilians, aid workers, or spies.
They are all mercenaries, the Egyptian man screamed, as Al Qassem of the Al Jazeera network cheered him on. Truly, he who has no shame is not afraid. Arabism and Islam have nothing to do with such people.
Where does Al Jazeera, and Al Qassem, think they are taking their Arabic-speaking viewers, the young before the old, when they put on a talk show tantamount to issuing a fatwa, or edict, for murder in the name of Islam and God or Arab Nationalism?
Do Al Qassem and his network appreciate how much damage they are doing to the religion of 1.2 billion Muslims, in addition to polluting the minds of many who watched him dish out this garbage?
Al Qassem -- whose program is already known as vile, loud, and messy -- descended further into ignominious behavior.
As the host of this unbelievable conversation, Al Qassem prompted, watched and blessed a so-called Egyptian political commentator arguing that people having their heads severed from their bodies in the most savage of ways is okay in the name of resistance to American occupation -- and more important -- to teach the Americans a lesson.
How about what this teaches Arab children? What will they retain when they hear gratuitous invitations to kill, slash, hate, demean and ostracize "the other", including innocent journalists, aid workers, and United Nations officials, both men and women who came to help Arabs of Iraq?
On Al Qassem's television show, the guest representing the opposing view, an Iraqi who argued hopelessly that such savagery is inhuman, was at a loss for words. Who would not be?
There is a point where freedom of expression in the media stops and advocating irresponsible bloody savagery begins. Clearly Al Jazeera and Feyssal Al Qassem have no idea where that point is. Sponsors, mainly the government of Qatar, should pull the plug on him, tell him he is fired, and then apologize to Arabs, Muslims and the whole civilized world for this smear.
Like it or not, Al Jazeera has a huge following of Arabic-speaking people. This is a public trust. If a satellite channel claims to speak in the name of Arabs, its bosses and sponsors must make sure it does not spit where it eats.
Al Jazeera has absolutely no right to allow ignorant, persons and reckless anchormen to further soil the reputation of all Muslims and Arabs by debating decapitation of human beings. There are no pros and cons here.
And it is not the first time Al Jazeera has done that. For years it has given prime time to the rabid Egyptian so-called religious leader Yusuf Al Qardawi, who issued an edict allowing the killing of Americans in Iraq and wife beating. The other day Al Itihad, the Emirates Arabic daily, to its credit, denounced him as an "ignorant man" misleading Muslims. Abdelrahman Al Rashed, the manager of the competing Arabic network Al Arabiya, also to his credit, also took him on saying he is polluting minds and shaming Muslims. It is now up to the Qatari government to stop these charades.
All this comes shortly after Al Azhar, the highest authority in Sunni Islam, condemned as a crime the kidnappings and beheadings of anyone being carried out in Iraq in the name of Islam.
What's worse is that in an electronic voting on the issue, a huge majority of Al Jazeera's viewers encouraged decapitation while less than 10 percent voted against.
The calamity that most of those who voted for it were Arabs and Muslims living in the West with free access to the Internet, enjoying the full freedom of Western democracies.
What does this say? That Al Jazeera has successfully polluted the minds of millions who should think differently, or that Arabs seriously suffer from schizophrenia?
Is it a surprise that prominent psychiatrists say that 10 percent of Arab children do not sleep for 10 days after viewing such repulsive kidnap-and-behead-industry photos and images of people begging for their lives with masked men standing behind defaming the Holy Koran by holding it up high.
If adults are confused, what are children supposed to be? A friend, a medical professional, wrote me the other day an e-mail in which she said, "We do not need nation-building. We need nation-rebuilding. This is a big, big issue."
Indeed, as long as people such as Al Qassem are not checked, we are in trouble.
Youssef M. Ibrahim , a former Middle East correspondent for the New York Times and Energy Editor of the Wall Street Journal, is Managing Director of the Dubai-based Strategic Energy Investment Group. This essay, moved by UPI, a sister news agency of Insight, first appeared in Gulf News.
Somebody take out the satellite, please.
.. Can we expedite the time schedule please
Al-Jerkzeera is and always has been, the mouthpiece of the other side. They are part of the enemy's machine. As such, they should be blasted into oblivion.
So when do the beheadings start in the West?
That will be when the SHTF, in my opinion.
One of the best pics of the war (IMO) was when one of our own members posted a pic of POWs crammed in a LVT P7 track, stripped and crying with a caption something like "Holy warriors my ass".
We should blast that all over the Arab world.