Clearly, Mary McNamara, the television critic for the newspaper, did not do her homework.
If she had, she would have discovered that two of the sources interviewed for the series have said some pretty nasty things about Jews and promote the notion of a civilizational war between Islam and non-Muslims.
One anti-Semite to appear on the show was Sheikh Ikrema Sabri, the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. According to the New York Sun, Sabri is a fan of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a well-known forgery that portrays the Jews as the enemies of humanity. He also has an ugly view of the Talmud:
The mufti’s views about relations between Jews and Muslims can be understood by what he told Saudi Al-Majd TV on February 20, 2005: “Anyone who studies ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ and specifically the Talmud will discover that one of the goals of these protocols is to cause confusion in the world and to undermine security throughout the world.”
Sabri, who testifies to Mohammed’s cosmic flight to Jerusalem or “Night of Power,” in the PBS series spoke with Jeffrey Goldberg in 1999. Goldberg reported the following:
“If the Jews want peace, they will stay away from Al Aksa,” Sabri told me when I met with him in his office near the Temple Mount. “This is a decree from God. The Haram al-Sharif belongs to the Muslim. But we know the Jew is planning on destroying the Haram. The Jew will get the Christian to do his work for him. This is the way of the Jews. This is the way Satan manifests himself. The majority of the Jews want to destroy the mosque. They are preparing this as we speak.”
One year later, Sabri insisted in another interview that far fewer than 6 million Jews died during the Holocaust and stated that the Catholic Pope “will free us from the Jews.” The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) quotes him as follows:
“Six million Jews dead? No way, they were much fewer. Let’s stop with this fairytale exploited by Israel to capture international solidarity.It is not my fault if Hitler hated Jews, indeed they were hated a little everywhere. Instead, it is necessary to denounce the unjust occupation endured by my people. Tomorrow I will ask John Paul II… to support our cause.”
The man has also endorsed suicide bombings. Writing for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East in 2006, Yaniv Berman reports the following: “Asked to express his view with regard to suicide bombing, the mufti answered: “It is legitimate, of course, as long as it plays a role in the resistance.”
Another commentator for the PBS series about Muhammad is Abdur Raheem Green, a Catholic convert to Islam who lives in Great Britain. Stand for Peace, a British anti-hate group, reports that Green, the founder of the Islamic Research and Education Academy, posits that there is a permanent state of war between Islam and the West (a message that clearly contradicts the message offered in the PBS series). Stand for Peace reports that Green “does not attempt to hide his hatred of Jews.”
In one video, Green has said, “Why don’t you take the Yahudi [Jew] over there, far away, so his stench doesn’t disturb us, okay?”Green also claims that Turkish leader Ataturk was “an extremely, thoroughly unpleasant, nasty kaﬁr. He was a Jew, he was a Jew. And not only was he a Jew, he belonged to a sect of the Jews that even the Jews think are far astray.”
A compendium of his public statements can be seen here.
Viewers who watch the PBS series will recognize it as a clear attempt to indoctrinate people with the idea that the violence being done in the name of Islam is contrary to what Muhammad taught his followers.
It’s an arguable point, but one thing is for sure: The show’s producers might want to do a better job of picking out their sources when making their case.