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October 31, 2007 Special Dispatch No. 1753

Saudi Columnist on MEMRI's Report About Islamophobia on YouTube

October 31, 2007
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 1753

In a September 21, 2007 article, Salah Shu'aib, columnist for the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, wrote about MEMRI's report of September 7, 2007 on Islamophobia on YouTube.[1] In the article, titled "...American Institute Has Launched a Campaign for Monitoring Hostility towards Islam on Internet Websites," Shu'aib presented excerpts from the MEMRI report, as well as excerpts from an interview with MEMRI's president about the new MEMRI project aimed at exposing Islamophobia and other types of extremism on Western file-sharing sites.

The following are excerpts from Shu'aib's article: [2]

"The president of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an American institute, has announced that [his institute] will launch a campaign [aimed at] monitoring some of the large Western video-sharing websites for expressions of hostility towards Islam, and in particular for what is known as 'Islamophobia.' The president of the institute, Yigal Carmon, said that this [campaign] is part of MEMRI's efforts to expose and to fight extremism and racism – whether they manifest as Islamophobia, as antisemitism, or as [incitement to] terrorism.

"In statements to the Washington-based media institute Aafaq, Carmon said: 'In the Arab world, [MEMRI] is accused of translating and publishing only negative materials. That is not true. We also publicize the positive aspects, especially what is being said by enlightened reformists of every orientation.'

"About the new project, Carmon said: 'We have launched this [new] service – which focuses on monitoring and exposing videos offensive to Islam posted on large websites like YouTube – in order to alert Western public opinion so that these inappropriate and harmful materials will be removed [from the sites].'

"Carmon expressed puzzlement over the fact that Islamic organizations, especially those in the West, have remained silent about these materials. 'I would have expected them to rush to the defense of Islam and the Muslims, and to voice their protest over the publication of these materials that offended Islam, but unfortunately, nothing has happened,' he said. Carmon added that 'no human being – Muslim or otherwise – can accept what is shown in these websites and these videos – especially those that aim profanity and obscenities at the Koran and the Prophet Muhammad.'

"On September 7, [2007], MEMRI published the first in a series of special reports exposing the phenomenon of Islamophobia. [These reports] will deal with videos posted on the American website YouTube, which, according to the [MEMRI] report, belongs to Google...

"The first [report in the series] identified 21 videos containing offensive language and invective aimed at Islam and Muslims, as well as stereotypical and hate-filled descriptions of Muslims which portray them, for example, as collectively fanatical, backward, or as supporters of violence. There are also offensive expressions aimed at the Creator, the Koran, the Prophet Muhammad, and at concepts sacred to Islam.

"The report states further that video-sharing websites like YouTube, Dailymotion and MySpace contain a large amount of racist and inciting material, including videos offensive to Islam and the Muslims.

"MEMRI, it said, 'will address this phenomenon in a series of reports presenting videos from the major video-sharing websites, focusing on videos promoting jihad and Islamophobia as well as on videos containing antisemitism and other types of racism and bigotry.'"

Endnotes:

[1] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 385, "Islamophobia and Jihad on Video-Sharing Websites (1): Islamophobic Videos on YouTube," Egyptian Opposition Weekly: Condoleezza Rice 'Has Damaged the World of the Blacks,' and 'She Is Suited Only to Work at a Nightclub or to Make Her Bed in the Heart of the Jungles'.

[2] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), September 21, 2007.

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