Friday, August 17, 2007


The recent Don Imus flap has confirmed the power of words - and the power of the politically correct. No matter that Imus and his producer were using language that is common currency among hip and hypocrite alike. As one editorial put it, "Imus was executed for jaywalking." The usual suspects, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, led the charge against NBC and Imus. It has become futile yet again to argue that Jackson and Sharpton have no credibility to judge hate speech. Both have been anointed, achieved a special status, above criticism. Indeed, unlike Imus, they have been awarded ethnic immunity.

Nonetheless, the Imus case is small potatoes. The ladies of Rutgers will get over the insult, if not Oprah. Don Imus was rich and famous before the fall, he will continue to be both after the fall. For the moment he has lost his soapbox. Another arrogant white guy bites the dust. Who cares?

We should all care because there is a deadly serious side to the ethnic immunities phenomenon. While all the networks obsessed on the Imus circus, a real drama was unfolding at PBS and its Washington, DC affiliate, WETA. PBS was in the process of showcasing a six night series about Islam after 9/11 entitled "Crossroads." At the eleventh hour, the centerpiece documentary, "Islam vs. Islamists", directed by Martyn Burke, was spiked and replaced by a NewsHour confection called "Muslims in America," produced and directed by Robin McNeil, himself a latecomer to a project three years in the making. We can surmise that McNeil was brought to the project to lend a NewsHour halo of credibility. At the outset, he characterized the "Crossroads" series as "groundbreaking." Indeed, groundbreaking for the weight of evidence ignored. The Burke film did not make the cut because representatives from the Nation of Islam objected at a private screening arranged by PBS and WETA.

Killing the Burke documentary thus removed the keystone and any semblance of objectivity from the entire PBS series. Bernard Lewis, arguably America's most prominent Islamic scholar, has come to the following conclusion, "If the fundamentalists are correct in their calculations and succeed in their war, then a dark future awaits the world, especially the part that embraces Islam." Unlike, "Islam vs Islamists," none of this wisdom is reflected in the McNeil film aired on Wednesday, 18 April.

There is no mention of Elijah Mohamed, Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam, decades of racist and anti-Semitic hate speech or Saudi funding of Wahhabi ministries, mosques, madrases and student groups. A Ray Suarez voice-over suggests in no uncertain terms that the Islamist (radical) threat is somehow different in America than it is in Europe. Did the NewsHour crew miss the attack on 9/11? Did they miss that week several years ago when the Hanafi sect attacked city hall in the heart of Washington, DC? Do they not know of Jose Padilla? Louis Farrakhan may not be the face of Islam but surely he is the most infamous Muslim in America. Are we to ignore a bigot who can mobilize a 'million' men? Are we to accept the pandering of Ray Suarez and ignore the scholarly judgments of Bernard Lewis? The big lie is not simple misrepresentation, it is also what you choose to ignore.

PBS and the wider world of politically correct seem to be on a crusade to ignore, at best, or appease, at worst, the ugly side of Islam in America and elsewhere. So let's be clear about what's at stake here. There are four targets on the Islamists' hit list.

First, there are the apostates, that is those Muslims who do not subscribe to Sharia, religious law. This would include almost all moderate or secular Muslims including Americans. Second, would be the Jews. In this target set, Zionists will be first among equals. If you need to know what the Islam bomb is all about, think Tel Aviv. The Diaspora would follow in short order. The third target is European democracies, or as Oriana Fallaci calls them, the cicadas. Before she died, Fallaci surmised that Europe might be on the road to surrender, thus avoiding conquest. And finally, last but not least, comes America, the "great Satan," the final bastion of capitalism and democracy.

Apologists often defend hate groups by pointing to their good works in the community. This is a little like rationalizing National Socialism by saying that Hitler was a vegetarian. Today, every extremist group has adopted this strategy; good works and terror. Some of the terror is simple intimidation and some of it is simply fatal.

In all of this, the politically correct, anti-Semitic Left and the Islamist Right seem to have made common cause. The Left works from within like termites while the Islamist Right flies passenger aircraft into skyscrapers. Both have capitalism and democracy, one being impossible without the other, in the cross-hairs.

Almost any objective Islamic scholar will tell you that internal struggle within Islam is key to understanding the threat to the Muslim world, Europe, and America. This threat is trans-national. When PBS uses taxpayer monies for "documentaries" which ignore or distort this reality then their product should be called what it
is - propaganda.

Speaking of propaganda, George Bush and American conservatives also need to stop inventing language to hype the threat. The hyperbole is redundant. The term "Islamofascist" comes to mind. Name calling isn't an argument. Fascism is European in origin and historical practice. The goal of Islamists isn't government by dictators; it's worse, government by clerics. And while we're at it, let's drop the pretense of the so-called "War on Terror." We are not at war with a tactic; we are at war with religious fanatics - Islamists.

Harry Reid, ironic representative from Navada has said that we have already "lost the war." He didn't say which war, the sideshow in Iraq or the larger struggle against Islamists. Maybe he is correct in both cases. With the PBS "Crossroads" series as a barometer, Mr. Reid might revise and amend his remarks and change "we lost" to "we surrender."

Mark Twain once said that the difference between the right word and one that is almost right is like the difference between "lightning and lightning bugs". Words matter, indeed!

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