The stations that are funded to beam into the Arab and Muslim world should not carry Arab and Muslim propaganda. Nor should they carry any of those programs on how wonderful life is for Muslims in America. Is the government crazy?
Such stations should be largely engaged not in current events but in instruction: instruction about the American Constitution, and other aspects of the American legal and political system. Let Arabs find out about the ideas behind the Bill of Rights. Give them the history of the idea of Free Speech, and do not scant Milton’s Areopagitica, or the story of John Peter Zenger, or any other details. Have material on the history of Constitutional adjudication right up, from Holmes and Brandeis (Abrams, Gitlow, and the rest) to the present Brandenburg Test. Have on, with translators, intelligent historians and legal scholars. Do the same, but much more of the same, with the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses.
Then let them know about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And have on those who will compare that Universal Declaration with the Muslim version, the Cairo Declaration.
Have interviews with Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Azam Kamguian, Irfan Khawaja. Have interviews even with those who, while they never dare to write or speak about, or distance themselves openly from, Islam, are nonetheless what one knows are “cultural” Muslims (as the phrase has it) — that is to say “Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only” Muslims. These could include Fouad Ajami, speaking, say, about the Arab Muslim refusal to contemplate Infidel sovereign states as the basis for its permanent opposition to Israel, and Kanan Makiya on how he, and other Iraqis in exile, failed to recognize the primitive state of the masses, failed to recognize the failure of the entire political class in Iraq.
And show the Muslim audience that we in the West are keenly aware of what Islam is all about. Have on those who discuss Muslim treaty-making and the model of Al Hudaibiyya. Have on those scholars of Islam — not Esposito, but real scholars — who will discuss the long history of conflict between Islam and Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism.
Do not stint or hold back. Discuss with art historians the destruction of Buddhist and Hindu statuary in Hindustan and Afghanistan, and catalogue the destruction, perhaps starting with video footage of the Bamiyan Buddhas, and then the threat to destroy them, and then the threat carried out, with no one stopping it, no one intervening, and protests coming only from the non-Muslim world. Explain that it was not the work of the Taliban alone, but of Pakistani and Saudi engineers who helped make the destruction so successful.
Have interviews with non-Muslims who have lived under Muslim rule, and with scholars of the history of dhimmitude. And have round-table discussions, without a single apologist being allowed in, on the reality of the attitudes and mistreatment of non-Muslims today.
And have other programs on Muslims, Arab and non-Arab. Relate the al-Anfal campaign against the Kurds by the Arab government in Iraq to the cultural and linguistic imperialism of the Arabs in North Africa, of which the victims have been Berbers (do not forget Kateb Yacine), and to the mass murder of black African Muslims in Darfur.
Indeed, have a “Berber hour” and a “Kurdish hour” and a “West African” and “East African” hour several times a week.
In all things, be guided not by Americans, but by such people as Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Wafa Sultan. Have programs about their books. Have programs about those who have decided to leave Islam, and enjoyed the freedom to leave Islam only in the West.
Oh, you object? The audience will be small? We need to give them what they expect, what they want, what will not unsettle them? Nonsense. What they get, what they expect, what will not unsettle them is what they get all the time, round the clock, from their own media and from Al Jazeera and Al Manar and Al This and Al That. A program financed by American taxpayers should not repeat Arab propaganda. It should undermine Arab propaganda. It should punch holes in the curtain, as Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe did. Indeed, those should and could be the models: the people hired were not sympathizers with Soviet Communism nor with Russian imperialism. They understood both, and understood that both were a menace, a danger. The people who work at Al Hurra should not be sympathizers with Islam and its duty of Jihad (and the various instruments of Jihad) or with Arab supremacism, but those who understand both, and understand that both are a menace, a danger.
This is what our legislators should be insisting upon.
If you agree, please print this out and send it to your Congressman. Make phone calls. Write to Washington, write in your local papers. Don’t stop. The government has, through its own incompetence in this war, forced what one hopes is the temporary “privatization” of the most important part of the war — the Propaganda War.
Fine. So be it. Help the American government recover, or come to, its senses. There should be no more indulgence exhibited toward the likes of Karen Hughes, and the people who appointed such people as Karen Hughes.
We need foxes, not geese.