Following are excerpts
from a TV debate on Egyptian religious TV channels, which aired on Al-Jazeera
TV on November 16, 2010:
have heard about the controversy that has been going on for several
weeks. Many religious TV channels have been shut down. There seems to
be a policy to restrain and to clip the claws of these channels. Most
of the voters [in our survey] are not in favor of restricting these
channels. What do you think about this?
Dhiyaa Al-Musawi: I am not against all religious TV channels, of
course. I support the enlightened and tolerant Islam, but I am against
those channels that I call "blow-yourself-up-and-go-to-Paradise
channels." This notion is the exact opposite of what the Prophet
In my religion, some
of these religious channels will give the Islamic nation a heart attack,
and will lead it to a cultural coma, a stupor. We must call upon the
[decision makers] either to guide these channels or to shut them down.
We call upon them to guide these channels, so that they will open up
civilization to a progressive, enlightened Islam.
Therefore, we say that
all extremist TV channels, whether Shiite, Sunni, or Christian... Any
channel that preaches extremism, that calls to rip society to shreds,
to abolish the countries, and to abolish civilized interaction between
societies must be guided, or else shut down.
What have we gained from
such channels? These channels rummage through the garbage bin of history,
the garbage bin of history?
are harsh words.
They look for sectarian mines, and blow them up in the face of the Sunnis,
the Shiites, the Christians, and so on. In my view, these [TV channels]
are spreading the drugs of religion. They do not raise the level of
awareness, and do not lay foundations for a life based on happiness,
tolerance, and progress.
[These TV channels] have
frozen the minds of young people in the narrow freezers of the political
parties, and say: "If you blow yourself up in a cafe, you will
meet the Prophet Muhammad tomorrow." "Blow up your country,
abolish your country" – in the name of the religious state, under
the slogan "Islam is the solution." Since when has Islam been
supposed to lead to a holocaust?
From this prospective,
I believe that we must stand up against all these channels, which try
to turn all the countries into sectarian camps. They drug the masses
and televise violence. This leads to young people blowing themselves
up all over the place. All they do is think about how to die. It is
the culture of death, of exclusion, of anesthesia.
Nader A-Tamim, former
Mufti of the Palestinian Liberation Army: In Egypt, TV channels
promoting prostitution and immorality get a license. They promote these
channels, but strangely, they shut down the [religious] channels.
What was the war cry
in the 1967 war? "For the sake of springtime, for the sake of those
who love life – strike!" In 1973, the war cry was "Allah
Akbar," and what was the outcome? In 1967, the Egyptian army was
defeated in a matter of hours. Umm Kuthum and Abdel Halim Hafez did
not help you in battle. In 1973, when they cried "Allah Akbar,"
they crossed the Suez Canal within hours, and if not for the treachery,
the [Israeli army] would not have penetrated the lines of the Egyptian
Let me say to the viewers
that what is happening today is an American conspiracy to get rid of
the men of the resistance. Those who blow themselves up among the Americans
and their collaborators are ideologically motivated. If you get rid
of the [TV channels] that motivate them, they will surrender.
The [religious] channels cement sectarianism in society, and incite
people against one another. They are constantly arguing... People in
Europe and Asia – China and so on – have reached beyond modernism,
while we continue to argue what came first – the chicken of the Shia
or the egg of the Sunna.