According to its mission statement:
We are Canada’s multi-faith and multicultural broadcaster. VisionTV presents inspirational, insightful and original programming that celebrates diversity and promotes understanding among people of different faiths and cultures. VisionTV is part of a group of channels that also includes One: the Body, Mind & Spirit channel, a digital service offering programs on natural health, personal growth and living a planet-friendly lifestyle.
People of faith celebrating peace, love, and understanding, 24/7, in a sustainable eco-friendly manner, right?
Well, not quite. There seems to be one “faith community” represented on VisionTV which is less than pacific in its doctrinal views. According to Stewart Bell in today’s National Post:
VisionTV defends airing ‘jihad’ lecture
Muslims Urged To Take Up Fight Against ‘The Enemy’
VisionTV says it will monitor one of its shows more closely after it broadcast a lecture by an Islamic preacher who said scripture requires Muslims to either fight jihad or finance it.
The multi-faith channel, available in 7.8 million Canadian homes, said it took the precaution following a complaint about last Saturday’s broadcast of a lecture by the Pakistani fundamentalist.
In the hour-long talk, Israr Ahmad said, “Jihad in the way of Allah, for the cause of Allah, can be pursued either with your financial resources or your bodily strength when you go to fight the enemy in the battlefield.
“So jihad, the highest form, is fighting in the cause of Allah.”
Mr. Ahmad runs a seminary and bookstore in Lahore, Pakistan, and his writings foresee the “global domination of Islam,” compare Jews to “parasites,” describe the Holocaust as “divine punishment” and predict the “total extermination” of Jews.
His followers in Canada include terror suspect Qayyum Abdul Jamal, who was arrested last summer for his alleged role in a plot to detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto.
According to Mr. Jamal’s wife, Mr. Ahmad was her husband’s teacher and mentor.
Now, this is Canada, after all, the land of gun control and hate speech laws, where speaking out against homosexuality in public can get you arrested. Canada is the Sweden of the New World. How could this happen in Canada?
The television program left some wondering how the Pakistani preacher, who claims that Jews control the world through a secret conspiracy involving financial institutions, made it on to Canada’s government-regulated airwaves.
“Israr Ahmad is widely known for his hateful words and vilification of Jews,” said Canadian Jewish Congress spokesman Bernie Farber. “We are deeply concerned that Vision would give this individual the imprimatur of Vision’s credibility. It was a mistake in judgment and ought to concern all of us.”
Did Mr. Ahmad break VisionTV’s rules? Well, maybe; maybe not:
VisionTV’s code of ethics forbids the broadcast of programs that glorify or incite violence or “have the effect of provoking or abetting domestic or international religious or political conflicts.”
The broadcaster acknowledged that the show, Dil Dil Pakistan, had talked about jihad and fighting but said it did not contravene the station’s policies against incitement because the comments were made in a historical context. But it said the show would be monitored more closely.
“We have essentially a system of flagging shows when complaints are made, where we’ll watch subsequent episodes even more carefully than we otherwise do, and take extra care and caution. So that’s certainly the case here,” said Mark Prasuhn, VisionTV’s chief operating officer and vice-president of programming.
But VisionTV’s viewers were not all reassured by the network’s promises of vigilance:
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Toronto resident Mindy Alter, however, said the message came through loud and clear when she tuned in to the show, which aired from 3 to 4 p.m. on July 14.
“The part about the jihad, he said very specifically that it is incumbent upon Muslims to wage jihad against their enemies until Islam rules supreme over the world,” Mrs. Alter said.
“I’m sorry, I don’t think that belonged over the airwaves of Canadian TV. You can put that in whatever context you like. To me that’s preaching jihad.”
Whoa, Ms. Alter! Your words are verging on intolerance! If you’re not careful, you’ll be charged with hets mot folkgrupp, with defaming the cultural practices of an ethnic group.
Responded Mr. Prasuhn: “Definitely, the viewer is correct. [Mr. Ahmad] does make the point about, you either contribute financially or through your body, and he uses the word fight. But none of this, as far as I could see, is in any way correlated or referenced to the present day. It is strictly a historical context and reading of the Koran by a Koranic scholar.”
OK, glad you cleared that up. But:
Mr. Ahmad is not just a religious scholar. He heads a self-described “revolutionary” organization called Tanzeem-e Islami, which wants to turn Pakistan into a fundamentalist Islamic state.
In his book Lessons From History, he writes that the revival of Islam will begin in Pakistan, because it is the only country that “has the potential for standing up against the nefarious designs of the global power-brokers and to resist the rising tides of the Jewish/Zionist hegemony.”
Islam will come to rule in four stages, he claims: the Ultimate World War in the Middle East, the appearance of the anti-Christ, the extermination of the Jews and the “domination of Islam, over the entire globe.”
But the VisonTV’s VP of programming doesn’t see what all the fuss is about:
Mr. Prasuhn said the show was screened before it was aired and that no problems were identified. He said he watched the show again after receiving a complaint on Monday and did not see a problem.
“He is saying that Muslims have a duty to propagate their faith,” Mr. Prasuhn said.
“Then it goes a little further. It isn’t directly connected to the word jihad, but in the same paragraph or whatever he then gets into talking about [how] this is accomplished — and again he’s kind of referencing Koran and history — accomplished through jihad, which means these two things, financial contribution or fighting.
“At no point did I hear him say anything that would reference the present day or that would reference what a practitioner of Islam should do today. Now, that’s an inference one might draw, I suppose, but I did not hear it in his words.”
The National Post thoughtfully provides some excerpts from a book by Israr Ahmad, Lessons from History, published in 2004:
It would of course be unfair to make sweeping generalizations because individual persons vary greatly, but as far as the collective psyche of the Jewish nation is concerned, it is undeniable that they have developed a deeply ingrained tendency to conspire and to man-oeuvre things surreptitiously for their own gain, without ever appearing on the stage.
This is how the Jews were able to take control of the affairs of the world without really exposing or endangering themselves. This unnatural and artificial alliance between the Jews and the Christians — the basis of the New World Order — is actually nothing more than the relationship between a parasite and its host.
The Western and predominantly Christian countries of the world, as we have discussed above, are virtually being controlled by a very powerful Jewish minority — a recent accomplishment of which was the destruction of the military might of Iraq in the Gulf War. The next item on the Jewish agenda is the creation of Greater Israel.
The condemned Children of Israel are going to be completely destroyed at the hands of their own prophet, Prophet Isa, just as numerous other nations were removed from the face of the Earth because they committed the crime of rejecting their respective messengers.
So this is simply an “historical interpretation” of the Koran, eh?
Does this mean that we Christianists can now interpret the Bible as commanding the faithful to emulate the Crusaders, take up the sword, and kill all the Muslims?
A word of advice, kids: don’t try this stunt
Hat tip: RES.