From Accuracy in Media‘s Cliff Kincaid:
The General Henry Knox Museum is honoring a representative of Al-Jazeera, the channel associated with various terrorist organizations, on July 28 on the stage of The Strand Theatre in Rockland, Maine. The museum says that an intimate Gala dinner and reception will follow at 7:30 p.m. at Camden National Bank’s historic Spear Block location in Rockland.
The idea of an American museum devoted to patriotism honoring a representative of a foreign-funded channel, described by Middle East experts such as Walid Phares as “Jihad television,” is not going down well in Maine and across the country. The most visible public face of Al-Jazeera Arabic is the anti-Semitic cleric, Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who approved suicide bombings against Israeli civilians and American military personnel in Iraq.
The grass-roots organization, Act for America, headed by Brigitte Gabriel, is mobilizing to oppose the appearance of Abderrahim Foukara, the Washington Bureau Chief of Al-Jazeera, at the event in Maine.
Gabriel is the author of two New York Times best sellers, Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America, and They Must Be Stopped: Why we must defeat radical Islam and how we can do it. The recent Act for America conference in Washington, D.C. attracted hundreds of activists and featured speeches by such figures as Rep. Allen West, one of the most forceful advocates of resistance to the global jihad.
An Act for America chapter leader in Maine, who didn’t want her name used publicly for fear of retribution from radical Muslims in the area, told Accuracy in Media that the event with Abderrahim Foukara is an outrageous affront to the mission of the museum itself. “General Knox was an American revolutionary war hero,” she said. “Al-Jazeera is an anti-American propaganda channel that has served as a mouthpiece for Arab/Muslim terrorist organizations killing Americans in the Middle East. Al-Jazeera has the blood of countless American soldiers on its hands.”
She noted evidence, publicized by Accuracy in Media in a special report, of Al-Jazeera’s ties to terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah. “These are terrorist organizations that target Americans and Israelis for death for opposing the global Jihad. Under no circumstances should an American museum devoted to an American revolutionary war hero and General be honoring a representative of this terror channel.”
Local activists want the board and trustees of the museum to cancel the appearance and offer a public explanation and apology for how this occurred.
AIM, which has campaigned against acceptance of Al-Jazeera, has argued that, in addition to serving as a mouthpiece for terrorist organizations, the channel has been shown to play a role in radicalizing Muslims abroad to make Americans into terrorist targets. Through Al-Jazeera English, the version of the channel being pushed for increased carriage in U.S. media markets, it could further stir up and inflame the Arabs and Muslims inside the U.S.
Abderrahim Foukara, the Washington Bureau Chief of Al-Jazeera scheduled to speak in Maine, has said, “To be honest, I don’t know what objective journalism means.”
In an interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Foukara argued that the U.S. should engage in talks with Hamas, the terror organization committed to the destruction of Israel. Hamas representatives have appeared at several conferences sponsored by Al-Jazeera in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
Although the channel has been portrayed as independent and reliable, the coverage by Al-Jazeera of the so-called “Arab Spring” has not been directed at corruption by the authoritarian monarchy in Qatar, which owns and funds the channel. Cables released by WikiLeaks demonstrate that U.S. officials consider the channel to be a foreign policy instrument of Qatar. There is no freedom of the press in the country, and a blogger in Qatar demanding accountability from the ruling elite was recently whisked away from security forces and has not been heard from since.
“If the government of Qatar funds Al-Jazeera with hundreds of millions of dollars annually, obviously it’s not a charity,” Foukara acknowledged in an interview.
Nevertheless, a press release from the General Henry Knox Museum calls Foukara a Moroccan transplant to the United States who is “well-versed in the history of the founding of his adopted country, and is able to weave that historical perspective into modern foreign relations.”
The museum describes Henry Knox as a “Self-made Man, Patriot and Entrepreneur.” It says, “Throughout most of the war he was by Washington’s side, and eventually rose to Major-General. Following the war he was Washington’s choice for the first Secretary at War. They remained life-long friends.” Knox retired to the mid-coast area of Maine in 1795 to promote the settlement and economic development of the District of Maine.
It is not clear to local members of the Act for America chapter why the museum has decided to bestow the prestige of General Knox’s legacy on a representative of an Arab-government funded channel implicated in the murder of Americans. They are seeking answers from museum staff and members of the board.
The board of the museum is chaired by Gregory A. Dufour, president and chief executive officer of Camden National Corporation and Camden National Bank in Rockport, Maine.
Maine Senator Susan Collins, the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has warned of “radicalized extremists working to do us harm from within our borders” and stated that “I am alarmed at the growth of homegrown terrorist plots.”
She added, “Between May 2009 and November 2010, there were arrests made in 22 ‘homegrown’ plots by American citizens or legal permanent residents. By comparison, in the more than seven years from September 11, 2001, through May 2009, there were 21 such plots.”
AIM has argued that what is needed is a congressional inquiry into whether Al-Jazeera, through its exposure to some Americans through the Internet and YouTube and some cable systems, is playing a role in this carnage.