Al-Hiwar TV: Islamists' Loudspeaker in Europe
Al-Hiwar is not "just" your friendly neighborhood Arab TV station. As its founder, Azzam Al-Tamimi, states, "We must refrain from violating these [Western] laws because this might… ban us from the air…At the end of the day; you want to convey a message." Oh? And what message is that?
The British communications regulator and watchdog organization, Ofcom, recently fined an Islamic TV £105,000 ($158,000) for airing a speech that condoned murder as a punishment for blasphemy.
In its explanation of the fine, Ofcom said the TV channel, DM Digital, had aired a speech by an Islamic scholar who made remarks "likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder."
DM Digital, however, is not the only Islamic TV station in the UK "likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder."
When mentioning Islamic stations in the UK, Al-Hiwar TV, based in London, is usually the first to come to mind. Established in 2006 by Azzam Al-Tamimi, author of the book Hamas from Within, Al-Hiwar has been described by the website Crehi Plethi as the Muslim Brotherhood's "main medium."
Although the Muslim Brotherhood denies any connection to Al-Hiwar, according to journalist Elizabeth Blade, the Muslim Brotherhood does in fact run it.
Al-Hiwar's founder and manager, Azzam Al-Tamimi, has been described by the journalist Patrick Poole, as a "well-known international Muslim Brotherhood operative and Hamas insider."
Al-Hiwar TV founder Azzam Al-Tamimi (right) with Egpyt's deposed president, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi.
Al-Tamimi has expressed his willingness to become a suicide bomber "if he had the opportunity.". He is also a member of the Muslim Association of Britain [MAB], which had been described by British parliament member, Louise Ellman, as "a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood—an extremist fundamentalist organisation founded in Egypt in 1928, and the spiritual ideologue of all Islamic terror organizations."
A former Al-Hiwar staff member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity , confirmed that MAB operates an office inside Al-Hiwar TV, with Muhammad Sawalaha, who has been described as a "Hamas operative", serving as MAB's liaison officer.
The Muslim Brotherhood, despite having officially renounced violence, has been known for inciting often-violent political and social instability; it also openly claims responsibility for the installation of Hamas, a terrorist organization committed by its charter to the destruction of Israel.
Ofcom, in 2009, found Al-Hiwar in breach of British broadcasting regulations after the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, used the channel to praise Hamas's military operations and "the use of bombs." In explaining its decision, Ofcom said Al-Hiwar's fault was to be guilty of "not challenging" Al-Ghnnouchi's statement. Al-Ghannouchi nonetheless remained a regular guest on Al-Hiwar TV, delivering his messages to millions of viewers.
In an interview with Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV in Gaza, Al-Tamimi confirmed that his focus was "conveying the message" while keeping within the regulations to remain on the air: "There are those who lie in wait for the Arabic TV Channels …they seek loopholes in order to stop you from broadcasting, therefore my advice to my brothers in Al-Aqsa TV and other Arab channels is that as long as we are broadcasting on satellites we do not own, these satellites are owned by the West, we must refrain from violating these laws because this might be a platform to ban us from the air ....At the end of the day you want to convey a message…" Oh? And what message is that?
Al-Hiwar TV has also led a campaign against the United Arab Emirates [UAE] for their crackdown on Islamic fundamentalists and Muslim Brotherhood operatives on their soil. Al-Hiwar has continued its targeting of the UAE, by running a live show entitled, "Is the UAE Responsible for What is Happening in Egypt?", in which Al-Hiwar's anchor claimed, "If the UAE is involved [in Egypt's events] I will declare this publically: the UAE has a hand in exploding the situation in Egypt."
Such messages succeed in making the UAE a target for the wrath of Islamists and Muslim fundamentalists, and could easily lead to disorder on UAE soil.
The larger problem here is one of freedom of speech, and how it can easily be subverted to spread messages of hate and even death threats. Yasser Arafat used to say, "I don't have to tell you what to do. You know what to do." A Muslim who decided to flee the Middle East has been receiving anonymous phone calls saying, "We know where your children go to school and what time the school lets out." The words themselves are innocent, but there is no question about what is meant. So at the end of the day, if "you want to convey a message," the question then becomes: "How do you skirt the rules to convey it?"
Al-Hiwar, not "just" your friendly neighborhood TV station, is privately funded. Two of its former staff, who spoke to this author on the condition of anonymity, claimed Al-Hiwar's annual budget exceeded £3 Million ($4.82 million). Nonetheless, Al-Hiwar does not seem to publicly disclose where the funding comes from. The question then arises, in public communications, as with a public utility: if something is broadcasted to the public, should not the public have a right to know who is backing it?
For the sake of peaceful Muslim countries such as the UAE, and in the interests of maintaining airwaves free of hate and intimidation, Ofcom might do well to look at Al-Hiwar -- and the UK might look at its foreign influences laws -- a bit harder.
Reader comments on this item
|Muslims in the UK! [130 words]||Tony G.||Oct 15, 2013 14:04|
|Response to "Islamist's Loudspeaker in Europe" [108 words]||Jen Schiller||Oct 14, 2013 14:05|
|↔ Tip of the iceberg... [170 words]||Ephesian||Oct 15, 2013 15:43|
|Al-Hiwar TV [20 words]||Shabnam Assadollahi||Oct 14, 2013 12:56|
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by Mudar Zahran
"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.
"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.
"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did." — D., Gazan journalist.
"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield." — K., graduate student
"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas." — E., first-aid volunteer.
"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here." — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.
by Ben Cohen
Now, with the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate having captured key oil wells in the Middle East this year, foreign oil has become an even more lethal financial weapon-of-choice for those seeking to destroy democracy and further escalate the War on Terror.
That President Barack Obama failed even to mention oil as a critical factor in the war against IS during his speech to the nation on September 10, is an omission both revealing and dangerous in terms of how his administration wants to depict the stakes involved in this latest confrontation with the jihadis.
by Lawrence A. Franklin
One Pakistani recruiter of child suicide bombers describes these children as "tools provided by God."
Another Muslim cleric in a madrassa [Islamic boys' school] describes child suicide bombers as "a gift from Allah that we have an unlimited number willing to be sacrificed to teach Americans a lesson."
Using children as suicide bombers will stop when... they stop "condoning the killing of innocents."
by Denis MacEoin
"No religion condones the killing of innocents." — U.S. President Barack Obama, September 10, 2014.
"Islam is a religion of peace." — U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, September 13, 2014.
"There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam." — U.K. Imam Anjem Choudary, CBN News, April 5, 2010.
Regrettably it is impossible to re-interpret the Qur'an in a "moderate" manner. The most famous modern interpretation by Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, leads the reader again and again into political territory, where jihad is at the root of action.
If they deviated from the true faith -- as we are seeing in the Islamic State today -- "backsliders," like pagans, were to be fought until they either accepted Islam or were killed.
In India alone, between 60 and 80 million Hindus may have been put to death by Muslim armies between the years 1000-1525.
by Yaakov Lappin
Hamas's long-term ambitions are indistinguishable from those of Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
Hamas will now focus on its next goal -- trying to strengthen its presence in the West Bank and eventually toppling the Palestinian Authority from power there, just as it did in Gaza. If Israel were to withdraw from the West Bank, Hamas would certainly find such a goal easier to accomplish.
Nothing keeps the flames of jihad alight, and Hamas's popularity secure, like frequent wars.