With all the news coming out about the riots in Egypt, it is best to know which sources to trust. While many would like to believe that Al Jazeera, the international news network headquartered in Doha, Qatar, is a reliable news network, the truth is that they aren’t. The fact is that those who are well versed in Middle Eastern affairs know that they are little more then a source of propaganda for the Muslim Brotherhood. Does it surprise anyone that the Egyptian authority would shut down their Cairo bureau?
Many might be skeptical. A dictatorship, on the brink of collapse, shuts down a news network that is critical of them? That doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. Many will ignore this and point to the fact the Egyptian authority has also shut down the internet in an attempt to control the flow of information. This isn’t, however, the first time Egypt or any other Middle Eastern country has tried to crack down on Al Jazeera, so that point is moot. To many Middle Eastern leaders, including those who are on friendlier terms with the West, the news network is a threat. Zvi Mazel from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has more on this.
…Having vainly tried threats, diplomatic pressure, and closing down its offices, Arab countries made a last, collective effort to curb Al Jazeera’s broadcasts. In February 2008 Egypt and Saudi Arabia convened in Cairo an extraordinary meeting of the ministers of information of all members of the Arab League. The purpose of that meeting was to impose a series of restrictions on all satellite channels in the Arab world. The proposed rules, which were supposed to be applied in all Arab countries, included a sweeping prohibition against insulting a country’s leaders or impugning its religious and national symbols. Infringement of the rules would give countries the right to freeze or cancel the offending network’s permit to operate. The rules would have made it possible for the regime to stop the broadcasts at will without having to resort to a court decision. However, Qatar and Lebanon refused to endorse the agreement and it never came into effect. So Al Jazeera keeps on being a threat to Arab regimes.
It isn’t just Arab regimes though, Zvi also points to the news organization’s campaign against Israel.
…Al Jazeera leads an all-out war against Israel in which there is no room for true reporting. The purpose is to bring all Arabs to support the Palestinians and, more specifically, Hamas, which is, after all, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brothers. No efforts are spared to present the Palestinians as the ultimate victims. Hamas representatives are warmly received by news anchors and commentators and they receive far more air time than the Palestinian Authority – a fact often bemoaned by Yasser Arafat who tried vainly to change it.
In the course of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Al Jazeera behaved as a Hizbullah spokesman in all but name. It broadcasted all Hizbullah communiqués without bothering to check them, as well as footage from Hizbullah’s satellite network, Al Manar, which was deliberately distorting the facts and grossly exaggerating the actual damage. At no time did Al Jazeera take into consideration what Israel had to say about the situation on the ground.
During the Gaza war, a senior Al Jazeera reporter stationed himself at Shifa Hospital, from where he broadcast a stream of carefully selected horror pictures. Once again, they were accepted unreservedly and used to show what was purported to be the endless killing of civilians and especially children…
At this point I would imagine many readers are scratching their heads. A news organization is supposed to question authority right? It isn’t supposed to play favourites, whether they are tyrant Arab regimes or the democratic state of Israel, so this isn’t anything ground shaking right? Yes, but there’s more.
It isn’t just the content of their broadcasts, but those putting together the information to be put out. Zvi makes mention of this early on, citing a piece by Egyptian Maamun Fendi.
The Egyptian Maamun Fendi wrote in Asharq Alawsat that some 50 percent of the network’s personnel belong to the Muslim Brothers. He believes that Qatar, by embracing the Brothers while hosting American bases, has found the perfect formula against retaliation by Arab leaders and attacks by Islamic extremists. Al Jazeera 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 isn’t just one Israeli source that is saying this. After a five minute Google search, there are many articles outlining this connection with many more sources. Take for example this post from Steven Stalinsky of The New York Sun.
One of the most prolific Arab scholars and columnists, Mamoun Fandy, wrote in the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat about the movement’s relationship with Al-Jazeera on January 22. “The Muslim Brotherhood has at its disposal media that transcends borders, from newspapers to satellite channels, which have taken over the minds of millions … throughout the entire Arab world,” he wrote.
Calling Al-Jazeera “the Muslim Brotherhood channel,” Mr. Fandy discussed the network’s activity in the Middle East. “Al-Jazeera … is already propagandizing for the organization. … If you watch a debate program presented on Al-Jazeera … you will be amazed at the supreme effort … to defend the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Pierre Akel, founder and editor of a prominent Arabic reformist Web site, Metransparent.com, summed it up on February 9, 2006, “When it comes to satellite television in the region, Al-Jazeera is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
A Tunisian intellectual and director of the Netherlands–based Center for Promoting Democracy in the Arab World, Khaled Shawkat, wrote about the connection between Al-Jazeera and the Muslim Brotherhood in an article for the progressive Arabic Web site Elaph.com on July 29. “Al-Jazeera has been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood organization,” he wrote.
In an article in Metransparent on December 22, 2004, the Arab reformist Abu Khawla also discussed the Muslim Brotherhood’s connection to Al-Jazeera. In addition, he wrote about the channel’s religious authority, Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who as a member of the organization left Egypt 45 years ago, seeking asylum in Qatar. “Arabs turn nowadays to satellite TV channels, especially Al-Jazeera … a tool of communications that is so far completely monopolized by fundamentalists,” Mr. Khawla wrote. “In the case of Al-Jazeera, preacher Al-Qaradawi (a leading figure of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood) is one of its most influential founding members. And fundamentalists are in charge of its news programs and talk shows.”
The always eloquent Youssef Ibrahim wrote about Sheik Qaradawi and Al-Jazeera in his New York Sun column on Monday: “One of the most eminent leaders of the Ikhwan movement, who appears weekly on Al-Jazeera’s ‘Sharia and Life’ program, is Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. He has specifically ruled that Americans in Iraq and Israelis everywhere should be targeted by suicide bombers, who will be considered martyrs and heroes.” Mr. Ibrahim also noted that Sheik Qaradawi “ranks among the top 10 leaders of the Ikhwan’s international ruling councils.”
This connection between Al Jazeera and the Muslim Brotherhood is not only confirmed by Jihadwatch.org, but by Walid Shoebat, a former Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) militant who converted to Christianity and has become one of the more outspoken critics of Islam, stated the very same thing this morning on ‘The Larry Elder Show’. Shoebat also made the point that the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t just control Al Jazeera, but many other Arab news outlets, including newspaper publications and radio stations. They are just one part of a larger propaganda organization.
So why is this apparently poorly kept secret still a secret? I would imagine it has to do with our own media perception of not only Al Jazeera, but the Muslim Brotherhood itself. If it isn’t those like Sam Donaldson, who recently praised Al Jazeera, it is apologists like Reza Aslan at The Daily Beast who are being dishonest about the terrorist organization. This failure by the mainstream media only goes to give credibility to both groups, further undermining the West and its allies in the Middle East.
While many don’t trust tradition media outlets due to apparent biases, Al Jazeera isn’t simply a biased news source, it’s a propaganda outlet for the Muslim Brotherhood. This isn’t hyperbole, its fact. They’re just another part of a terrorist campaign, manufacturing news at the discretion of the worst of Islamic fundamentalists organizations.