Al Jazeera Reporter Denounces ‘Evil’ of Western Nations

Nov 2, 2006 12:34pm

An Al Jazeera reporter doing a report about the Arab news channel’s tenth anniversary signed off by saying Arabs need to protect themselves against the "evil" of Western nations. "More importantly, as the people of Al Jazeera here say, now that we have recovered from the ordeal of our initial launch, our channel is about to broadcast in the language of nations, whose evil we, as Arabs, are in dire need of protection from," said Majed Abdel Hadi at the end of a report aired on Al Jazeera today. Abdel Hadi appears to indicate that Arabs need to protect themselves from the "evil" of Western nations and that the new Al Jazeera International, which is set to be launched on Nov. 15, might help accomplish that. Abdel Hadi was standing in Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha, Qatar. THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Exclusive: U.S. Troops Abandoned Me, Says Convoy Driver Iraqi Government Pulls the Plug on TV Station Click Here to Check Out More of the Brian Ross Page The report was part of a major self-congratulatory celebration on the Al Jazeera network marking the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Arabic language satellite channel. Reaching more than 40 million people, Al Jazeera has become, by far, the most watched media outlet in the Arab world. "I am shocked by the inflammatory language," said Professor Fawaz Gerges of Sarah Lawrence University, who is an ABC News consultant. "It is one thing to criticize Western foreign policies. But the ‘evil of Western nations?’" The report by Mr. Abdel Hadi included an interview with Al Jazeera’s Director General Wadah Khanfar. Reached by telephone in Doha by ABC News, Mr. Khanfar claimed to be unaware of the inflammatory language, "I have not seen that. That is impossible. That cannot be the language of Al Jazeera." The chief editor of the network, Ahmed Sheikh, later conceded to ABC News that the reporter had made the comments, "I know, I was not aware of it. It wasn’t proper. It is an old saying, but he used it in the wrong way. We do not believe in this…We believe that the role of the media is to bring people together, not drive them apart." Mr. Sheikh said the reporter would be disciplined. Professor Gerges, who has recently returned from an extended tour of the Middle East, said that he noticed an alarming increase in rage against the West, which many Arabs believe is "waging a crusade against the Muslim world." Comments such as those made by the Al Jazeera reporter would appear to play to this audience, said Mr. Gerges. ABC News’ Mimi Daher contributed to this report.

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