The right’s bigoted crusade against Al Jazeera America

“The Muslims are coming!” That is the tongue-in-cheek name of a new documentary by Muslim comedians. But it is also the deadly serious shriek echoing through the American right in response to the launch of Al Jazeera America. Like Dr. Emmett Brown’s distraught warning that bazooka-wielding Arab terrorists are stalking the palatial suburbs (“The Libyans!”), conservatives are in a full-on frenzy, insinuating that Al Jazeera’s entry into the U.S. cable television market is akin to an invasion by a foreign menace and, thus, represents an existential threat to U.S. national security.

Now, to the hypocrisy: If the jingoistic anti-Al Jazeera saber rattlers are so angry about media outlets with foreign owners coming to the United States, where is their outrage when it comes to similar media-expansion efforts by entities connected to other countries?

For example, Australian citizen Rupert Murdoch began buying up major American newspapers like the San Antonio News-Express and the New York Post. Murdoch only became a U.S. citizen in 1985 — and that was in order to circumvent U.S. statutes restricting the amount of media a single foreign owner can control. Why aren’t the anti-Al Jazeera jingoists expressing concern that Murdoch represents a dangerous foreign infiltration of the U.S. media market?

 

Additionally, in a society where the ugliest Islamophobia is still pervasive, the right wing is also using the launch of Al Jazeera America as yet another excuse to manufacture a spectacle of anti-Muslim bigotry and to vilify anything with ties to Muslims — even a news organization whose international branch has won esteemed awards for its objective journalism.

 

In that larger campaign of Islamophobia, when ties to Muslims are found among the right’s own institutions — say, the aforementioned Saudi royal family’s connections to Fox News — conservatives are often willing to direct their Islamophobia elsewhere, as long as the institution in question loyally champions conservative political ideology and Islamophobia, which, of course, Fox News most certainly does.

 

Princess condemns Saudi Arabia paralysis sentence

With the UK urging Saudi Arabia not to go ahead with the paralysing of a Saudi man who was given the unusual punishment by a court for an attack which left another man paralysed, a sentence said to be an implementation of Islamic law. Although Amnesty has compared the sentence to torture. It was in speaking to Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight that Princess Basmah Bint Saud, of the Saudi royal family, condemned the sentence. She went on to say that: “Whether that be Christianity, Islam or other religions… we have misunderstood the core of humanity itself. It is all about being human… even in our punishments.”

Princess facing Saudi death penalty given secret UK asylum

A Saudi Arabian princess who had an illegitimate child with a British man has secretly been granted asylum in the UK after she claimed she would face the death penalty if she were forced to return home. The young woman, who has been granted anonymity by the courts, won her claim for refugee status after telling a judge that her adulterous affair made her liable to death by stoning.

Her case is one of a small number of claims for asylum brought by citizens of Saudi Arabia which are not openly acknowledged by either government. British diplomats believe that to do so would in effect be to highlight the persecution of women in Saudi Arabia, which would be viewed as open criticism of the House of Saud and lead to embarrassing publicity for both governments.