When Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today retired as Chairman of the Gannett Company, he took over the Gannett Foundation, sold the foundation’s Gannett stock back to the company, and returned its name. He used the $650 million stock sale proceeds to invest in the Freedom Forum.
Many of the so-called scholars and experts claimed by the Freedom Forum are blatant leftist journalists and media professionals. This may explain why the strands of their bias are threaded through both its off-shoots, the First Amendment Center and the Religious Freedom Education Project.
One might even argue that they have been bought and paid for by the left’s mega corporate dollars. The Freedom Forum’s Newseum recently hosted Obama’s “grass-roots” mega dollar corporate-based “Organizing for Action” (OfA) money-pitching meeting. “An OfA spokeswoman declined to comment on the group’s presentation at the Newseum, its fundraising or relationship with other deep-pocketed liberal groups.”
Support for the meeting was provided by a “White House-allied trade association called Business Forward, which is funded by major corporations including Microsoft, Walmart and PG&E…”
“Distributed action” was discussed by panelists representing a troika of Common Purpose Project, the self-described anti-conservative progressive Media Matters, and the Soros funded Center for American Progress.
Newseum + mega money + insider politics + anti-conservative progressive agenda ≠ unbiased media.
It may also explain why the Freedom Forum, the First Amendment Center and Religious Freedom Education Project walk in lockstep with the progressive socialists’ agenda. Certainly they are serious about President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships report recommendation to: “Utilize the expertise of faith-and community-based organizations to train education and media professionals on Islam and Muslim communities.”
But in their haste, the scholars and experts of the Freedom Forum failed to fully vet their Islamist partners.
The First Amendment Center and an unbiased free press – an oxymoron
Claiming that journalists, particularly those in the South, find reporting about Islam and Muslims “increasingly challenging”, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) School of Journalism along with the First Amendment Center hosted a three-day conference in August 2011. It was funded by the McCormick Foundation and titled “Covering Islam in the Bible Belt”.
The conference promised to feature “veteran reporters and experts in Islamic history and culture.” One of the reporters that led a workshop titled “Crafting the Story” was Osama Siblani from Dearborn Michigan. He is the publisher of The Arab American News. In 2006 Siblani was a speaker at a pro-Hezbollah rally in Dearborn, Michigan sponsored by the Congress of Arab American Organizations. During his talk, Siblani asked all those in attendance to observe a moment of silence “for the martyrs.”
Butch Ward, managing director of the Poynter Institute led a workshop titled “Acknowledge Your Bias and Improve Your Coverage.” Subsequent to the conference, the Poynter Institute posted a free on-line course on Islam for journalists. This course was promoted as a way to help journalists “remain accurate and balanced in their coverage of the Muslim community in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which changed the way Islam is viewed by the public.”
It is precisely because of 9/11 that the public has started to wake up, take notice and get educated about what Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood are working to institute in the United States.
Some participating journalists took issue with the way in which the course minimized the act and meaning of 9/11. In “Jihad is Not Just Murder, Motive Matters”, Judith Miller writes ,“This is a course in political correctness for reporters assigned to cover Islam in America who have slept through the past decade.” She also notes that the course “barely mentions the proliferation of such ‘home-grown’ Islamist terrorism in its discussion of important trends and facts about Islam.”
Reporters Judson Berger and Iris Somberg revealed here and here that the groups behind the Poytner course are all funded by the notorious billionaire George Soros which may explain the course comments that accuse conservatives of bigotry. One of the Soros groups involved is the Center for American Progress which supports Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood supporter Egyptian President Morsi was recently quoted as saying that “we must nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred for Jews”.
Contradicting their own stated mission, the Poynter website only posts articles consistent with the narrative and agenda of the pro-Islamist U.S. press.
Media Bias: the Tennessean abets Islamists
Tennessean reporter Bob Smietana also led a workshop at the MTSU conference discussing all he discovered about individuals leading the anti-jihadist movement in the U.S. He told the Arab American News that he has nothing but “contempt” for them. Of course, Smietana is ignorant about Islamic political doctrine and its supremacist theocratic sharia law, which is what the anti-jihadists protest. Neither Smietana nor The Tennessean was willing to acknowledge or correct confirmed inaccuracies in his reporting.
Moreover, showing no regard for the danger of speaking out about Islamists, Bob Smietana published the identities of anti-jihadist activists who had to use pseudonyms for security purposes.
Tennessee writer and political analyst Rebecca Bynum addresses this and more about Bob Smietana’s bias in her article “Peculiar Bias: How the Tennessean Became a Fellow Traveler with CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood”.
Feel free to contact Bob at his home and let him know how you feel about his credibility as the religion writer for The Tennessean:
Robert Smietana, 2712 Cash Court, Thompson Station, TN 37179 615-595-2365
The Islamist resource list for journalists and the Freedom Forum
The conference resource list for journalists just like the resource list compiled by the Freedom Forum, the Religious Freedom Education Project and the recent publication “What is the Truth About American Muslims” is threaded throughout with anti-American Islamists committed to the Muslim Brotherhood ideology of political sharia.
The Poynter website directs journalists to Muslim Brotherhood organizations such as CAIR, ISNA, ICNA and MPAC. Is Poynter ignorant about the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood memo on a global government takeover or about CAIR’s ties to Hamas? Obviously or else they sympathize with the Islamists. Either is inexcusable.
Experts on the resource lists include Zaid Shakir, Sherman Abdul Hakeem Jackson and Muqtedar Khan. Shakir and Jackson are both featured in this article about the 2010 Toronto Muslim convention. Shakir is quoted as telling his audience that Allah destroyed the Soviet Union because it invaded Afghanistan and the same thing could happen to the U.S.
It was reported that Sherman Jackson told his audience that “Muhammad redefined the society in which he lived, and today nothing less than the future of the Ummah (“community” or “nation” in Arabic) in Western cultures was at stake. Muhammad’s vision was not just for Arabia, but for all humanity, including, presumably, the modern Western world. To a cheering audience, he said that his primary commitment was to Allah, not to America. His speech was a call to battle. It had little to do with peaceful co-existence with the West, but was an exhortation for Islam to dominate the West.”
Both Jackson and Khan sit on the Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. Council of Scholars. In 2009 the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) formed this council. The IIIT is one of the 29 named organization “of our friends” in the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood Memorandum on the General Strategic Goals for North America. The IIIT was raided by federal authorities as part of a terror financing investigation.
Islamist agents who work for the demise of our civilization and our government are the allies of journalists such as Bob Smietana and Butch Ward, and organizations like the Freedom Forum and First Amendment Center. The very media that should be educating the American people about the dangers of political sharia to our way of life is busy currying favor with Islamists and propagating leftist propaganda.
The Freedom Forum. An unbiased forum for freedom? You tell me.
While the answer should be “ABSOLUTELY NOT”, exactly the opposite is happening at Tennessee’s state-funded universities. One of the most aggressive Tennessee schools in this regard is Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) although other schools such as the University of Tennessee in Knoxville (UT Knoxville) and the University of Memphis also have distinctive Muslim Brotherhood credentials.
At MTSU for example, “Registered student organizations” qualify for university funded student activity fee money. The MSA at MTSU states on its website that it is both a “registered student organization” and is affiliated with the National Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada. https://web.archive.org/web/20110615082039/http://frank.mtsu.edu/~msa/msa.htm
The core of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology is spread at the college level through the Brotherhood’s very first U.S. creation – the Muslim Students Association (MSA). The MSA is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood whose credo states: “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our Leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the path of Allah is our highest hope.” The MSA “pledge of allegiance” videotaped at a recent regional conference concludes with “I will fight against oppression. And I will die to establish Islam.”
MSA at UT Knoxville
UT Knoxville MSA’s website comes the closest to acknowledging the origin of the organization:
“The first Muslim Student Association was founded on the campus of the University of Illinois, Ann, Urbana-Champaign in 1963. From the minds of a few students came an association that has spread to myriad universities across North America. The MSA of UT has been blessed with a colorful fifteen year history…”
UT Knoxville’s MSA “colorful” history includes the experience of Mustafa Saied who told the Chicago Tribune in 2004 that in 1994 during his junior year at UT Knoxville, he was recruited by the Muslim Brotherhood. “After Saied attended numerous prayer sessions, a fellow Muslim student took him to a quiet corner of a campus cafeteria and asked him to join….Saied says he left the group after several years because he disliked its anti-American sentiments and its support for violence in the Middle East.”
The Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. Muslim Students Association – just another student organization?
The archives of the Muslim Brotherhood in North American were discovered during a 2004 FBI raid of a leading U.S. Muslim Brotherhood member’s Virginia home. Among the documents was the 1991 MB “Explanatory Memorandum” that was introduced by federal prosecutors during the Holy Land Foundation trial, the biggest terrorism financing case in the U.S. It is important to remember that during the trial the defense stipulated to the Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. plan.
The 1991 Memorandum clearly shows the Brotherhood’s overarching goal of converting the U.S. into an Islamic state and laid out a detailed plan for the “civilization jihad from within.” The memo also listed 29 organizations working in the U.S. to further this goal; the MSA was second on the list because the MSA is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood working in furtherance of the plan to offer Islam as a “civilization alternative.”
The MSA created in 1963 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus is an Islamist organization with an Islamist agenda. Investigative journalist Patrick Poole notes the following:
“Toward that end, the organization has published an MSA Starter’s Guide: A Guide on How to Run a Successful MSA, which states:
‘It should be the long-term goal of every MSA to Islamicize the politics of their respective university … the politicization of the MSA means to make the MSA more of a force on internal campus politics. The MSA needs to be a more ‘In-your-face’ association … For example, the student body must be convinced that there is such a thing as a Muslim-bloc.” The Guide further advises: “Aim to rise within the ranks of the Union [student government] and to get on selected executive committees … I cannot stress this enough, the Union has vast powers that Muslims need to control.’
The Islamization of Tennessee’s university politics a.k.a. the “red –green alliance” and the example of MTSU
Looking at the MSA’s activity on various Tennessee campuses, it looks like they take the MSA Starter Guide seriously and have overlaid a contemporary element. The MSA’s reach has been extended by shrewdly embedding their objectives in the leftist jargon of “human rights” and “minority rights”. This strategy is better known as the “red-green alliance”.
In this manner, using the often subversive and less than honest discourse of the liberalized left, they have convinced the Latino community to join forces despite having to carefully veil their otherwise conservative and dogmatic doctrine.
The MTSU MSA faculty advisor is Saleh Sbenaty who joined MTSU in 1993. Available records show that he has been the MSA advisor since at least 2007. He has been discussed at length in Newsletter #50, who left Syria for the U.S. at the same time that the Muslim Brotherhood was expelled from his country. It was noted by Sbenaty’s daughter that he has not returned to Syria in 30 years for fear of being jailed there.
As far back as 2004, the MTSU MSA welcomed Awadh Binhazim, the Muslim chaplain at Vanderbilt who confirmed Islam’s capital punishment for homosexuality. Binhazim’s many affiliations including having been a CAIR chapter president in Texas, have been detailed in Newsletters #11 & 12.
Much more recently, the MTSU MSA along with the MSA Latino student organization FUTURO, have sponsored a program featuring Arsalan Iftikhar and AMAC member, Kasar Abdulla:
Invite-Only Event · By Anya Alicia Cardoso and MTSU MSA
6:00pm until 8:00pm
|MTSU Student Union Building Room 220|
|This event is a discussion forum featuring Arsalan Iftikhar and Kasar Abdulla. The topic will be about Islam and common misconceptions or stereotypes revolving around Muslims. After a short presentation the floor will be open the audience to ask any questions they might have.This event is sponsored by FUTURO and the Muslim Student Association of MTSU. There will be free food and lots of great discussion! Please join us and invite your student or faculty friends. This is meant to be more intimate–students and faculty only so that more questions can be answered, however, if you have a religious leader that would like to come and participate in the discussion, please invite them! Thank you!|
An open-to-the-public event featuring Arsalan Iftikhar followed on Tuesday, November 13, 2012.
Given that the event was co-sponsored by a Muslim Brotherhood organization, it is no surprise that the co-presenters each have deep involvement with Muslim Brotherhood groups. AMAC member Kasar Abudlla’s involvement with Muslim Brotherhood groups has been covered in Newsletters # 4 & 5.
Arsalan Iftikhar is another MSA “graduate” who later served as CAIR’s National Legal Director, a position and affiliation he omits from his resume and seems to go to great lengths to disown. However, a picture is worth 1,000 words especially when speaking at the 2006 Muslim Brotherhood ISNA convention:
Iftikhar was also the CAIR lawyer involved with the “flying imam” case against U.S. Airways. Attached is his letter to U.S. Airways along with CAIR’s internal memo detailing the proposed propaganda and lawfare campaign.
This is the same CAIR whose connection to Hamas is well documented, was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, and whose co-founder, Omar Ahmad stated during a 1998 speech:
“If you choose to live here [in the U.S.] … you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam.” “Islam isn’t in America,” he continued, “to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
The same CAIR whose co-founder, convert to Islam, Ibrahim Hooper in 1993 expressed his desire that the U.S. be an Islamic government.
This sentiment, expressed and manifested in many ways, represents the core of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology and the end goal of all of the Brotherhood’s groups including the MSA.
As stated in January 2005 by a former UCLA MSA leader, “The only justification … that Muslims have to live in this country is da’wa…. [I]f we are not doing something to invite people to Islam, Muslims and non-Muslims, then we are missing the point what Islamic Movement is about…. The end goal of everything I was talking about is the establishment of, the reestablishment of, Islamic form of government.”
No different in objective than the da’wa discussed in Newsletter #41 being offered up by other Muslim Brotherhood associated and inspired organizations active in Tennessee including the American Center for Outreach (ACO) and the AMAC.
In 2009 a federal judge confirmed the existence of ample evidence tying groups like CAIR and ISNA to Hamas, a fact the MTSU’s students and faculty do not let get in their way. One can speculate that the reason it does not give them pause is because they are aligned to the anti-Israel, anything but America and the West, pro-Hamas and Hezbollah agenda.
How much background on Arsalan Iftikhar and the MSA for that matter was provided to the FUTURO organizer? How about program attendees? Isn’t a university supposed to be about higher education?
Someone might even want to clue Governor Haslam in about what his AMAC is helping out with on Tennessee campuses. After all, he demonstrates over and over again, that on this issue he is either clueless or willingly blind.
See the many pieces written about MSA activities around the country