Sunday, August 12, 2007

Anti-jihadist Arab media

Here's an interesting piece by Lee Smith, who has been parlaying the fact that he is writing a book about the Arab media into mostly informative magazine pieces for a couple of years now. He notes that some of the most severe condemnation of the recent attempted bombings in the UK and the somewhat tepid British government response has come from the London-based Arab media.

Hazem Sagieh, a columnist for Al Hayat, for example, wrote: "Neither in London, nor in the Arab and Islamic world has there been enough condemnation. Learning to accommodate these horrible acts is a symptom of mental disease." Another London-based broadsheet, Asharq al-Awsat "ran several articles in the last month unequivocally condemning the violence and those who justify it."

There are questions, however, as to just how representative these journals are of Arab opinion, even the the UK. Smith notes that many of the Arab journalists in London are "refugees from the violence of Arab-nationalist politics in the 1960s and 1970s." They seem more western-oriented than many we would viewas "moderate Muslims." Still it's encouraging to see condemnation of terrorism in Arab media in any country. It's more commonplace than one might think. The MSM don't pay enough attention to this strain in Arab/Muslim thought and expression.

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