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July 22, 2011

NPR Counter-Terrorism Series Omits Inconvenient Truths

National Public Radio aired a two-part series on counter-terrorism training on July 18 and 19. Omissions as to the nature of Islamic radicalism in the United States made the reports, by NPR’s Dina Temple Ralston, useless at best, misleading at worst.

“Terrorism Training Casts Pall Over Muslim Employee” (July 18) portrays Omar Al-Omari, former Multicultural Relations Officer for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, as a victim of “Islamophobia.” It does so by repeatedly omitting critical information.

“Imam Arrest Shows Shift in Muslim Outreach Effort” (July 19) refers to the FBI arrest of Miami imams Hafiz Khan and son Izhar Khan, along with other family members, on charges of “financing terrorism in Pakistan.” NPR avoids specifics while noting that Hafiz and Izhar Khan have pled “not guilty to all of the charges.”

Listeners never learn from the tax-supported network that FBI agents detained the Khans on four counts of conspiring to support deadly terrorism overseas and funding the Pakistani Taliban with approximately $45,000 from 2008 to 2010.

In installment I, Dina Temple Ralston reports that counter-terrorism trainers “suggested that [Omar al-Omari] had links to bad people — people who were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and even al-Qaida.” She does not report that those claims were not unsubstantiated.

Omitted, among other things, was al-Omari’s publication, in his official Ohio state capacity, of a brochure claiming that the definition of jihad as “holy war” is “a European concept” foreign to Islam. Also missing in action from the NPR segment was al-Omari's listing of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and other Hamas and/or Brotherhood-linked groups – unindicted co-conspirators in the federal Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development trial – as “organizations we are working with.”

NPR likewise avoided information that al-Omari lost his state job for, in part, failing to disclose previous employment at Columbus State Community College, from which, according to The Columbus Dispatch, and as noted by a post on the Center for Security Policy website, he was fired for having a sexual affair with a student.

Installment II focused on heightened FBI cultural sensitivity in dealing with American Muslims. But by avoiding specifics regarding the charges against the Miami imams, NPR failed to provide listeners with any context as to the scope of criminal matters involving U.S. Islamic radicals.

In fact, about 35 of the top 50 domestic terrorism cases since al-Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001 destruction of New York City’s World Trade Center and attack on the Pentagon have involved financing or other support to Islamic terrorist groups, according to the Center on Law and Security at New York University’s school of law.

Who, what, when, where, why and how? The basics of journalism, but not of NPR’s series on counter-terrorism training. – By Sophie Linshitz, CAMERA Washington research intern.

Posted by ER at July 22, 2011 05:35 PM

Comments

I don't understand why the US taxpayer should continue supporting a news outlet, that as far as Israel is concerned, might just as well bear the name National Palestine Radio. I expect this nonsense from commercial broadcast news because it is supported by entities that propose Israel as a major irritant in the Middle East so that they can keep the price of oil artificially high - what is the reason for NPR to promulgate such anti-Israel bias?

Posted by: Arnold Pinsley at August 5, 2011 12:44 PM

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