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memri
December 4, 2007 No.
1778

European Arabs Launch Campaign to Stop Al-Jazeera Broadcasts in Europe

Arabs in Europe have launched a public campaign to stop Al-Jazeera TV broadcasts in Europe. In a petition, they accuse the channel of fostering extremism among European Arab youth and of supporting terrorism.

While the petition's initiators have not provided their names, it seems likely that they are Iraqi expatriates; although various Arab news websites, such as Elaph,[1] have reported on the campaign, the petition itself has been posted primarily on Iraqi websites. These sites include the Iraqi news site Sotaliraq;[2] the Iraq of Tomorrow news site;[3] the Al-Najaf News site;[4] the website of Al-Fayhaa TV, a liberal Iraqi station;[5] the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan website;[6] Bahzani, a news and opinion website focusing on the Yazidi community and other Iraqi minorities;[7] the Yezidi Community website;[8] the website of the Gilgamish Center for Kurdish Studies and Research;[9] and the Kurdistan Times e-journal.[10]

In addition, on November 28, 2007, Iraqi exile Joseph Shallal wrote an article on the Arab left-liberal Modern Discussion website urging a boycott of Al-Jazeera.

TO VIEW MEMRI TV'S PAGE OF AL-JAZEERA CLIPS VISIT: http://www.memritv.org/subject/en/166.htm

The following are excerpts from the petition and from Shallal's article:

"Since Its Inception, Al-Jazeera Has Chosen the Path of Fostering Violence and Hatred"

"Why should Al-Jazeera be blocked in liberal Europe?

"More than 10 years after the emergence of the extremist Al-Jazeera channel, the time has come for Arabs who live in Europe and believe in a free Europe to defend the principles of a continent that has sacrificed millions of victims to reach its current state of progress, respect for human rights, rejection of extremism, and rejection of the fostering of hatred.

"Since its inception, Al-Jazeera TV has chosen the path of fostering violence and hatred in the world, and has acted so as to be an arm of terrorist forces, such as Al-Qaeda and other extremist forces. [Al-Jazeera TV] has already been prevented from operating in many countries, and some of its presenters and technical crew have been arrested for their involvement in aiding obscurantist terrorist forces like Al-Qaeda and others."

"The Time Has Come for… 'The Bin Laden Channel' to Face Its Day of Reckoning on the European Continent"

"The time has come for Al-Jazeera TV, whose name has become 'the bin Laden channel,' to face its day of reckoning on the European continent.

"It would be difficult, in this brief [overview], to provide examples of the calamitous influence, danger, and ignominy that Al-Jazeera TV has presented and continues to present. Every day that this channel [continues to] broadcast constitutes a clear violation of the principles of the media, and poisons the minds of the youth…"

Al-Jazeera is Exploiting Europe's Democratic Environment in Order to Wholeheartedly Oppose Freedom and Respect

"One cannot remain silent in the face of the dangerous insinuations broadcast by Al-Jazeera, that are aimed at trying to show that there is an extremist religious campaign against Muslims in Europe.

"One cannot remain silent, given the statements of European political and cultural researchers as to Al-Jazeera's dangerous influence on the Arab youth in Europe.

"One cannot remain silent in the face of [Sheikh Yousef] Al-Qaradhawi calling Christians and Westerners 'infidels' on Al-Jazeera, [and in the face of] his calls for violence.

"European governments cannot but note Al-Jazeera's record in the Middle East, and the restricting orders issued against it in countries such as Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Perhaps these countries are not models of the kind of democracy found in Europe – but their judges and media personnel presented clear and irrefutable evidence of Al-Jazeera's involvement in actions unbefitting a media outlet.

"One cannot remain silent in the face of Al-Jazeera's continued exploitation of the European continent's democratic environment in order to practice a media policy that is wholeheartedly opposed to the freedom and respect that European principles promote.

"It is not our intention here to mention further examples of the Qatari Al-Jazeera channel's extremism. We will leave it to every free and sincere Arab individual to remember the many hours of anger he has spent viewing Al-Jazeera's destructive discourse."

"Sign Your Name With Us and Take a Stand Against Hatred and Extremism"

"Who is behind this campaign?

"This is a campaign of Arabs and Europeans aimed at implementing peaceful pressure against European governments and the European Union to stop broadcasting by the extremist Al-Jazeera satellite channel on European cable networks, as a first step towards stopping the channel from broadcasting over the European satellite [service] Hotbird…

"This is an appeal to all Arabs and Europeans, those who live in the European continent and those outside it, to add their names to the campaign.

"This is an appeal to all academics and intellectuals, to provide us with their testimony regarding the terrorist channel.

"This is an appeal to all lawyers and rights specialists, in Europe and elsewhere, to help us with their legal expertise in order to draw up a legal paper that we can present to the European parliaments and the EU.

"This is an appeal to you, as an Arab and a European, and as a consumer, to join us in pressuring the European cable networks to remove Al-Jazeera… You do not want yourself, or anyone close to you, to turn to extremism and to hatred for the countries that have given us so much love.

"Sign your name with us, and take a stand against hatred and extremism. Sign on to our campaign for 'a Europe without Al-Jazeera.'

"Sign at this address: [email protected]."

"When Will Al-Jazeera's Hatred for Iraq and the Iraqis End?"

In an article titled "When Will Al-Jazeera's Hatred for Iraq and the Iraqis End?" published November 28, 2007 by the Arab left-liberal Modern Discussion website, Joseph Shallal, an Iraqi exile living in Germany, wrote that Al-Jazeera is biased against Iraq, and urged a boycott against it. (It is not clear whether Shallal is connected to the petition initiative.) He also argued that Qatar, which sponsors Al-Jazeera, is hypocritical, since it is home to the largest U.S. military base in the region:

"The Al-Jazeera channel was struck with hysteria after the fall of the late Saddam regime…

"The goal of Al-Jazeera, and of those who stand behind it, is to harm intra-Arab relations as well as relations between Arabs and the countries of the world, and to sow and deepen religious and [Sunni-Shi'ite] sectarianism and hatred among all elements if the Arab region.

"Most guests on its shows are from a single school and tendency… If we look at the Al-Jazeera Direct broadcasts, all we see are things harmful to the Iraqis and to Iraq – speeches, meetings, and conferences by Islamist terrorists from Al-Qaeda and from [other] terrorist organizations…

"At the same time, Al-Jazeera Direct ignores anything positive, inside or outside Iraq… While it carried a speech by wanted Iraqi terrorist Harith Al-Dari, who represents nothing in Iraq, it did not carry the ceremony of Iraqi Patriarch Emmanuel Delly's ordination as cardinal…

"What can we hope for and expect from a channel whose religious spokesman [i.e. Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi] calls day and night for jihad, killing, and terrorism, and issued a fatwa permitting the killing of Iraqis, and another fatwa permitting criminal terrorist suicide operations – so-called martyrdom operations – that violate all international laws[?]…

"The channel [i.e. Al-Jazeera] says that Iraq is occupied. The occupation of Iraq was [based on] international resolutions, and was declared openly by the American administration. What we don't know is how Qatar was occupied and became the largest U.S. base… Did it take place with the agreement of the Al-Jazeera channel and its religious spokesman, or with that of the ruler of Qatar and his group?

"The occupation of Iraq will end one day. But is the ruling family of the Qatari emirate and mini-state capable of expelling the Americans from their land?...

"For these reasons, I call for a boycott of Al-Jazeera, and of Qatar. Every noble Iraqi should refrain from participating in Al-Jazeera programs, and refrain from visiting Qatar. And we demand that European countries remove Al-Jazeera from European satellite [services], particularly Hotbird, and that the channel's employees be denied entry to European and Arab countries because there are question marks regarding some of them – as was the case with Al-Jazeera correspondent and cameraman [Sami Al-Hajj] in Afghanistan.

"We demand that Iraq break off all relations with the mini-state of Qatar, its government, and its biased media…"[11]


Endnotes:

[1] http://www.elaph.com/ElaphWeb/Politics/2007/11/278435.htm, November 8, 2007.

[2] http://www.sotaliraq.com/articlesiraq.php?id=597; November 5, 2007.

[3] http://www.iraqoftomorrow.org/wesima_articles/index-20071105-49912.html; November 5, 2007.

[4]http://www.alnajafnews.net/najafnews/news.php?action=fullnews&showcomments=1&id=40329, November 9, 2007.

[5] http://www.alfayhaa.tv/main/showart.php?artID=1886&catID=1, November 7, 2007.

[6] http://www.pukonline.com/arabi/yeke.php?besh=Nusraw&perrge=nusraw&nujimare=8357, November 6, 2007.

[7] http://www.bahzani.net/services/forum/showthread.php?t=18290, November 7, 2007.

[8] http://yezidi-community.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5261, November 8, 2007.

[9] http://www.gilgamish.org/viewarticle.php?id=articles-20071107-5285, November 7, 2007.

[10] http://www.kurdistan-times.org/wesima_articles/articles-20071106-33718.html, November 6, 2007.

[11] www.rezgar.com, November 28, 2007.