Cable News Network (CNN) showed America once again why it cannot be trusted to provide fair and balanced reporting. Its Iranian-born chief foreign correspondent --Christiane Amanpour produced and presented a six-hour special entitled "God's Warriors." The program aired over the weekend and dealt with the intersection of religion and politics. The first evening featured Judaism, the second dealt with Islam and the last with Christianity.
The overriding impression one gets from watching this six-hour program is that it is a case of pure moral relativism, presented with a secular agenda, and with a particular antipathy towards the Judeo-Christian belief system.
Amanpour's efforts to convince the American and Western viewing public that Jewish "terrorism" in Israel (those who live in settlements in Judea and Samaria), and Christian "terrorism" (those burning abortion clinics) is basically no different from the terrorism of Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda killers is farcical at best.
Nowhere does Amanpour mention the fact that Muslim Palestinians and Lebanese invented the modern version of "suicide bomber" and "aircraft hijacking." Nor did she provide for the dichotomy that Islam unlike Judaism and modern-Christianity employs jihad as one of its prime tenets.
Jihad for Muslim warriors present and past is not an "inner search," as Amanpour's carefully chosen Egyptian Muslim woman interviewee tells us. Rather its meaning has been made crystal clear by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran's fanatical Shi'ite clergy whose "constitutions" define jihad as an unrelenting war against the infidels which will not abate until they accept the supremacy of Islam and adopt Shari'a laws.
In dealing with the "Muslim Warriors" Amanpour gave us a "whitewashed" version that defies reality. The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, who are responsible for inspiring the creation of many extremist Islamic terrorist groups, were presented as benign and sympathetic figures incapable of inciting or perpetrating violence. One must ask why, in the name of balance and fair-play, she did not bother to solicit any views from members of the beleaguered and terrified Egyptian Coptic Christian community on the Muslim Brotherhood?
Amanpour employed hard-nosed, confrontational tactics with the Jewish settlers and at one point stated, "The Jewish settlements inflamed much of the Muslim world." Amanpour's injection is totally absurd. While Muslim masses worldwide were inflamed over the Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper, there have been no similar murderous riots over the "Jewish settlements."
Moreover Amanpour is wrong on the facts. When a Jewish settler argued that Jews have the right to live in Hebron, Amanpour interjected that the "West Bank was designated by the UN to be the part of an Arab state." Amanpour incorrectly invoked UN Resolution 181, more commonly known as the Partition Plan, the plan that Palestinian Arabs rejected in 1947 thus invalidating the Arab-Palestinian claim and rendering the resolution null and void. (The Palestinians preferred to destroy the nascent Jewish State rather than exercise their right to self-determination). Conversely, the West Bank was included in the area of Jewish settlement under the Balfour Declaration and by Article 6 of the British Mandate. Hebron, it should be noted, is one of the four Holy cities for Jews. Jews had lived in Hebron continuously until the murderous Arab riot in 1929 that killed 67 Jews and forced surviving native Jews to flee, abandoning their properties in the process. This land was reclaimed after the Six Day War.
Presenting Jerusalem as the bone of contention between Muslims and Jews, Amanpour sought out the Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Husseini (perhaps a relative of Hitler's ally and friend Haj Amin al-Husseini -- the Mufti of Jerusalem who held sway until the end of WWII) for his views. Husseini told Amanpour, "The Jewish Temple did not exist (on the Temple Mount)." Instead of interviewing a counterpart to the Mufti, someone such as Israel's former Chief Rabbi Israel Lau, she chose instead to question secular Israelis with little attachment to any religious sites.
Continuing on the issue of Jerusalem, Amanpour told the audience, "Israel captured the Arab part of Jerusalem." Nowhere did she mention the sacredness of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem (which happens to abut Arab sections of Jerusalem) and the fact that the Arab Legion killed or expelled its residents and destroyed much of what was holy to the Jews. And, she neglects to note that Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority since 1840.
As an example of "Jewish terrorism," Amanpour cited the Dr. Baruch Goldstein case. Goldstein had witnessed his closest friends being murdered by Palestinian terrorists and went on a crazed rampage killing Palestinian worshippers in Hebron. His actions were widely condemned in Israel by the government, media, and the general public. Compare this act of individual revenge to Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians that are encouraged by the Palestinian Authority, blessed in the mosques by the Islamic clergy, praised in the Palestinian media, and supported by the general public. By way of contrast to the Israeli condemnation of Goldstein, Palestinian Arab Muslim suicide bombers and other terrorists are hailed as Shahids or martyrs.
And then from out of left field, Amanpour brings up the Jewish lobby -- a subject that has no relevance to religion or religious extremism. Not only did she avoid mentioning the Saudi (Arab) lobby, which is by far the most powerful lobby in America, but she also chose to solicit the opinions of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (himself a lobbyist for Arab causes), as well as professor Mearsheimer, both known for their controversial anti-Israel positions. Stunningly, no expert contradictory opinion to these two was offered during the six-hour program. It would have been just as easy for Amanpour to pose the same questions to Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz or Professor Fouad Ajami.
In her last segment on "Christian Holy Warriors," Amanpour's cynicism surfaced again when she solicited the "learned opinion" of Jimmy Carter who obliged the audience with his pearl of wisdom: "Faith and politics do not mix." Jimmy Carter was not referring to the Muslim world that indeed does mix mosque and State. He was pointing an accusing finger at evangelical Christians. Unlike many Muslims throughout the world, including those in Europe and the U.S. who would like to impose Sharia laws in the West, few if any American Christians including evangelicals seek to end the wall of separation between church and state in America, or impose Christianity on Mecca and Medina.
Karen Armstrong, a former nun and an apologist for Islam, was frequently used by Amanpour to provide commentary and expert opinion. And, for Karen Armstrong, moral relativitism is her religion -- not the Bible. In the end, Iran's Muslim fanatics are seen as nice human beings no different from "crazy" Evangelical Christians or "terrorist" Jews in the West Bank. They all believe that God is own their side, is the conclusion reached by Armstrong and Amanpour.
It might be true that many devout Jews and Christians believe that "God is on their side," but Amanpour failed to mention that unlike devout Muslims, Jewish and Christian clergy do not order their flock to kill Muslims or others in order to reach paradise.
By Joseph Puder