Sunday, February 08, 2009

Are my Sources better than CNN's?

My news sources must be so much better than CNN’s and others’ because I keep coming across things that they do not have. The most recent item was the death of an Islamic clergyman this week in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Moulana Hafez Hamidullah passed away quietly at his residence at the age of 63. He was an influential member of the Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan (BKA), a religious and political association of fundamentalist Muslims, very prominent Islamic clergyman, and Vice Principal of a madrassa. Despite the media’s seeming obsession with Islam, there was no mention of Hamidullah’s passing anywhere.

Yet, this very religious Muslim cleric was consistently outspoken in condemning “all forms of militancy in the name of religion.” He preached interfaith harmony based on mutual respect and was (along with the BKA) outspoken defenders of Bangladesh’s “Muslim Zionist,” Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, who was arrested and tortured after exposing the rise of radical Islam in his country and urging relations with Israel, continues to publish Bangladesh’s only openly Zionist newspaper. The BKA also joins with Choudhury in urging an end to Bangladesh’s prohibition on travel to Israel and in promoting relations with the Jewish State.

While I never met Hamidullah, Choudhury and I met with two of his colleagues in Dhaka in 2007. The first part of our hours-long meeting was rather tense and focused on our profound differences, especially about Israel and the United States’ role in fighting Islamist terror. Although we remained at odds on many points even after our uncensored interfaith dialogue, as I remarked, “Well, we’re not throwing bombs at each other, are we.” We thus “agreed to disagree” and actually found several shared values. Thus followed a warm relationship marked by rigorous honesty and mutual respect. They even published a statement that “neither the Zionists nor the Americans are the real enemy of the Believers and the Muslims.”

Yet prominent media and organizations do not even mention these or other Muslims who have stood against terrorism carried out in their name. For if they did their agenda of what Judea Pearl called “normalization of evil” fails. Like President Obama’s pledge to speak respectfully with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, who espouses goals that are contrary to the principles of freedom and justice for which people have struggled for centuries; that agenda is premised on accepting those goals as a reality we must acknowledge. It is the same philosophy that attempts to turn Hamas into a legitimate player in the Middle East. Those who push dialogue with the world’s Ahmedinejads have, by doing so, turned any war on Islamist extremism into a war on Islam itself by incorrectly accepting extremism as basic to Islam. The existence of Muslims—especially highly religious Muslims—who are fighting that extremism, upsets their ideological apple cart.

So, is it the media’s and their political cronies’ ideological agenda; or does my unfunded, one-man operation just have far more extensive news resources than CNN, the networks, AP, and everyone else put together?

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