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September 7th, 2014
12:30 PM ET

Islam's battle of ideas

Foreign policy analyst Rula Jebreal reacts to last week's "Reliable Sources" segment with radical cleric Anjem Choudary.

Here's how Brian Stelter set up the segment:

This is all part of a battle of ideas, one that's going on every day in the Muslim world.

You know, every week here on "Reliable Sources," I ask you to send me a message on Twitter and on Facebook, to let me know what you think of a show. And I heard from a lot of you last Sunday after I invited Anjem Choudary, a radical Muslim cleric. Some of you said I should feature a more moderate Muslim voice to demonstrate that Choudary does not represent Islam.

So that's what we're doing here. I invited back to the show a guest from early this summer, Rula Jebreal, and then I showed her some of what Choudary had to say. She was disgusted by it. And here's what she told me.


Filed under: Reliable Sources
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Sandy

    I agree with the previous poster. My only regret is that Brian didn't have her on debating the arrogant radical cleric the week before. The hateful man had full reign to spout his garbage, and smugly thumb his nose not only at Americans, but the very British society that he no doubt had reaped many benefits from. Frankly, when Brian showed the clip of him doing the mike check I could not believe that this man wasn't escorted out of the studio immediately. The mocking of 9/11 and then being allowed to be on the show and treated like he was a rational human being was beyond the pale. I wanted to reach through my TV and slap him myself. Differing viewpoints is one thing, but to allow this vile individual to get attention and spew his distain for America and the rest of civilized society is quite another.

    September 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm | Reply
  2. Justin

    I realize it's fashionable to emphasize that 'most Muslims are loving people and not radical extremists'... That point is hammered home everywhere but Fox (disturbing, but a different discussion). But I don't think that's the problem.

    Think back to our own recent history. Most white southerners were NOT members of the KKK during the 50's and 60's. The actual number was a tiny proportion of the population.

    But, a large number... Maybe most... Sympathized with the feeling of grievance expressed by the KKK. The average white family wasn't willing to burn a cross in a black family's front yard, but they weren't disgusted and outraged by it. There was broad, if not acceptance then, acquiescence to the white extremist groups of the day.

    That's the only way groups like that could have existed. Just like there are a handful of Neo-Nazis still hanging around, but there is almost no sympathy for Hitler even today. So those groups have very little currency in today's society.

    Fact is, CNN aired a story of a British-born suicide bomber. The brother, interviewed by Carl Penhall, said he felt no shame for what he did. He and his friends acted as if the jihadist died for a noble cause.

    I would expect any non-Muslim family to express their deep shame and disappointment if a family member acted in a similar way for some other religion.

    The "center of mass" of mainstream Islamic sentiment, that is the oft referred to and rarely seen "moderate Muslim", while unhappy to see the reign of terror wrought by ISIS define their faith, probably feels some degree of sympathy for their ideology. Yearning for a return to Islam's golden age may seem innocent enough, but it is also the slippery slope of acquiescence that allowed the KKK to terrorize blacks in this country.

    September 7, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  3. Susan Pearce

    Thanks for interviewing Jula Jebreal this morning. Brian, as usual, asked her all the right questions. But uncharacteristically for him, I didn't get the sense that he actually listened to her answers! Ms. Jebreal was very calm and articulate, and she gave several examples of how the mainstream media could do a better job: quit showing the radicals almost exclusively; instead of giving airtime over and over to the radicals' statements and replaying the beheadings over and over, respond to these outrages by giving equal time to the condemnation of them being expressed by the vast majority of moderate Islamic leaders. Report the polling that shows the vast majority of Muslims do NOT support ISIS or radicals like Chowdery (sp?). But every time Jebreal said that giving air time to these radicals was like repeating recruitment videos for susceptible potential converts, BRIAN SHOWED ANOTHER CLIP OF CHOWDERY! Talk about not getting it!
    When Brian showed the quote from the Duck Dynasty guy, "We have to either convert them–which I think is unlikely– or kill them," he was expressing EXACTLY the beliefs of the radical Muslims on the other side! Jebreal pointed this out, and even commented that the radicals on both sides even look alike. But Brian pressed on, indicating (to me) that he still wasn't understanding her point: his last question was about her opinion on El Jazeera's decision not to air the beheading videos. Had he been listening to her, he would not have needed to ask that question at that point. She had made it very clear that this was EXACTLY the approach she thought our mainstream media SHOULD be taking: don't give the radicals another venue for their recruitment campaigns.

    I hope that when Brian thinks about this interview in retrospect he will respond by doing what Jebreal is suggesting and use at least some of his program do more to showcase the moderate Arabs' views.
    (Just in case it matters to anyone reading this, I am not a Muslim.)

    September 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Reply

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