PBS Drops Documentary Against Radical Islam for 'Political Reasons'

April 11th, 2007 3:00 AM

An American tax-funded documentary, titled Islam vs. Islamists, a film on how moderate Muslims feel about the corruption of their religion by Wahhabi extremists and their experiences in facing those extremists, was axed by PBS for the very reason that it puts some Muslims in a bad light, says the film's producer in Tuesday's edition of the Arizona Republic. Rampant PCism is the charge, and it is hard to deny the claim once the whole story is put out there.

The producer of a tax-financed documentary on Islamic extremism claims his film has been dropped for political reasons from a television series that airs next week on more than 300 PBS stations nationwide.

Producer Martyn Burke claims that PBS, in order to be allowed to continue with the project, tried to make him fire some of his associates on the film because they belong to a Conservative Think Tank and that they still axed his film anyway when all was said and done.

So, what is all the fuss over with this film?

Burke wrote that his documentary depicts the plight of moderate Muslims who are silenced by Islamic extremists, adding, "Now it appears to be PBS and CPB who are silencing them."

Apparently PBS, is so afraid of even appearing to say that some Muslims' actions are problematic that they would rather suppress the whole show then deal with the truth.

Subtitled Voices From the Muslim Center, Burke says his film "attempts to answer the question: 'Where are the moderate Muslims?' The answer is, 'Wherever they are, they are reviled and sometimes attacked' " by extremists.

Can't have that, I suppose?

The film received a $700,000 US grant and was supposed to be a part of Federal project named Crossroads that is intended to "enhance public understanding of terrorism, homeland security and other crucial issues in the post-9/11 era".

So, who were Burke's associates, the ones PBS wanted fired?

In the making of Islam vs. Islamists, Burke's co-producers were Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, and Alex Alexiev, the non-profit organization's vice president. Both men are neo-conservatives who have written on the threat of "Islamofascism" to the free world.

Before filming began last year, Burke says, Bieber asked him, "Don't you check into the politics of the people you work with?"

Sounds like ideological litmus testing, doesn't it?

I am sure Burke knew he was in for trouble when they began to heat up the tar and feathers! That wasn't the only questionable treatment he got at the hands of the PBS folks. Burke has a whole litany of issues with the PBS station.

  • A (TV station) WETA manager pressed to eliminate a key perspective of the film: The claim that Muslim radicals are pushing to establish "parallel societies" in America and Europe governed by Shariah law rather than sectarian courts.
  • After grants were issued, Crossroads managers commissioned a new film that overlapped with Islam vs. Islamists and competed for the same interview subjects.
  • WETA appointed an advisory board that includes Aminah Beverly McCloud, director of World Islamic Studies at DePaul University. In an "unparalleled breach of ethics," Burke says, McCloud took rough-cut segments of the film and showed them to Nation of Islam officials, who are a subject of the documentary. They threatened to sue.

... lots of underhanded stuff there. And imagine, we taxpayers PAY for this brand of witch hunting.

If you want to hear the story from Frank Gaffney, the Conservative think tanker mentioned above, you can see a great interview that talk show host Hugh Hewitt had with him on the subject.

We are among a small team of filmmakers who had a film selected for the Crossroads series, and unfortunately, apparently, those who have been responsible for making the final decisions on it found our treatment of moderate Muslims, anti-Islamist Muslims, in the face of the efforts by Islamist Muslims to suppress them, in America, in Canada, and in Europe, to be too hot to handle, and insisted on dramatic changes that would have really gut the film and its content and its message. The film has been suppressed, in short, by PBS at the moment.

Gaffney has a lot to say on the topic so check out his interview at HughHewitt.com.

In any case, what we have here is a case of suppression of the anti-Islamist viewpoint, one paid for by US tax dollars. Worse, it stops the possibility of disseminating the idea that some Muslims are just as upset over the misuse of their religion to kill people as we are that it is being done. And THOSE people face their own murders and a lack of safety for their families over their opposition.

And what does PBS say about all this?

PBS officials turned down interview requests.

Imagine that, eh?

Heck, we wouldn't want a taxpayer funded organization to be answerable to anyone, would we? (UPDATE: See Frank Gaffney's response on Nationalreview.com)