Date: October 10, 2007
by Erick Stakelbeck
October 10, 2007
CBNNews.com - One of the biggest weapons in the Middle East conflict has nothing to do with bullets or bombs.
The weapon of choice is the radio and television airwaves.
If you think there is bias in the American media, compare it to how the media companies in the contested region drive what Muslims think about Israel and the West.
Children Watch Israeli
Most Americans try to keep a close eye on what their children watch on television.
However, they may also want to start paying attention to what kids are watching on TV in the Middle East as well.
Another Typical Day of Programming -- Hate
It is just another typical day of programming on the Hamas television station.
One childrens' program the station produces and broadcasts spreads the message of hate.
A character in the show is a bumblebee named Nahoul. He tells the young girl who hosts the program, "We must arise in order to take revenge upon the criminal Jews, the occupying Zionists."
In response, the girl tells Nahoul, "Allah willing, we will regain the Al-Aqsa Mosque and cleanse it of the impurity of the Zionists."
That is just a sampling of what Palestinian children see every day on Hamas TV.
It does not get much better in Iran.
On the state-run television network, they broadcast an Iranian cartoon which glorifies suicide bombing.
One character in the cartoon is a suicide bomber who shouts, "I place my trust in God! Allahu Akhbar!," before he explodes a bomb strapped to his body on an unsuspecting Israeli convoy.
This is part of the daily programming in many Middle Eastern countries. It is a daily menu of anti-U.S. and anti-semitic programs there may shock some Americans, but not Yigal Carmon.
Carmon is spreading the word through the work of the Middle East Media Research Institute in Washington, D.C.
"The main motivation was to bridge the gap of language or the barrier of language between the Middle East and the West," he said. "People realize that they need to know more about the Arab world, that they don't know enough, and that they should have it from primary sources."
MEMRI translates everything from television programs to religious sermons to grade school textbooks from the Middle East and North Africa.
The frequently jarring results are updated daily on their Web sites.
In one clip from Saudi television, a Saudi professor preaches hatred of Christians.
"Someone who denies Allah, worships Christ, son of Mary, and claims that God is one third of a trinity - so you like these things he says and does?, said Abd Al-Aziz Fawzan Al-Fawzan, a professor of Islamic law. "Don't you hate the faith of such a polytheist?"
MEMRI's tracking of radical Islamic websites has also produced eye-opening results. One Web site monitoring initiative has revealed that Internet service providers for dozens of Jihadist sites calling for attacks against America are based right here in the United States.
"It is all American hosts," Carmon said. "American servers that are supporting--unknowingly -- supporting Jihad on the Internet."
MEMRI has stepped up its efforts to shut down these U.S.-based Jihadist sites. For work like this in the war on terror, the group has earned praise from the White House, Pentagon, F.B.I. and a host of elected officials from both parties.
MEMRI's latest effort exposes the persecution of Christian minorities in the Muslim world through eyewitness accounts on the Web site, christianminorityrights.org
Interest in MEMRI soared after September 11, 2001, but not only in the U.S. State-run television networks in the Middle East realized that their radical rhetoric was being monitored.
As a result, Carmon says Egypt and Saudi Arabia--two of the worst offenders in the past--have actually improved.
Iran, he says, is one country that continues to churn out extremist programming.
Middle East Media Research Institute