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Sunday, August 26, 2007

An open letter to Christiane Amanpour

An open letter  to Christiane Amanpour From Maurice Ostroff

August 26, 2007

Dear Christiane Amanpour

God's Warriors

Your mammoth three-part documentary "God's Warriors" is certainly a magnum opus. And while I admire the sheer professionalism of your presentation, I do hope you will accept the following comments in the constructive manner intended.

Please correct me if I err, but the program creates the impression that you do not see Islamic fundamentalist violence as more serious a threat than enthusiastic, or even zealous devotion to Judaism or Christianity.

This impression is confirmed by your responses to comments posted on CNN web site. For example in response to Regina Bowling of Charleston, who said she believes we are watching the gathering up of energy worldwide in the form of religious intolerance for the "perfect storm" of global holy war, you replied that you don't see right now the potential for global holy war. This despite 9/11, the London bombings and attempted bombings and other glaring incidents including the world-wide violence that erupted in the Danish Cartoon episode

The program also creates the impression that you believe there is no difference between God's Jewish, Muslim and Christian Warriors and that the Moral Majority and Evangelists are as dangerous as Islamic Fundamentalists. This was confirmed when you replied to Ms. Bowling that as long as people believe that only their holy book [Koran, Torah or Bible] or only their holy word matters and is relevant, then there will be no solution. (Words in parenthesis are mine).

It was disappointing to find in a purportedly objective program that you injected your own views, demonstrating occasional lack of knowledge. For example when an Israeli settler said God says Jews must live in Hebron, you interjected that the West Bank was designated by the UN to be the largest part of an Arab state.  Not only is this statement factually incorrect, it is out of context. May I ask whether you are aware that all Arab states rejected UN partition resolution 181 and that the West Bank was included in the area designated for encouragement of Jewish settlement by the Balfour Declaration and even endorsed in article 6 of the British mandate.

In retrospect I hope you will agree that the use of the very few isolated incidents of Jewish terror attempts over the past 15 years, created the erroneous impression that a religious Jewish terror movement exists on a par with the violent worldwide jihadist phenomenon of indiscriminate death and destruction.  Objectivity would require that you draw attention to the enormous difference between Islamic states which encourage terror and Israel which acts vigorously against attempts to engage in terror and where those very few Jews who did make attempts have been severely punished.

The relevance of God's Warriors to the so-called Jewish lobby in the USA is flimsy indeed.  It is difficult to accept your objectivity when you allow Jimmy Carter and Professor Mearsheimer to promote their controversial books that have been criticized by experts for blatant inaccuracies, without offering a balanced viewpoint from someone like Alan Dershowitz.

Surely you, of all people know that the Jewish Lobby is but one of dozens of diverse influential lobbies, including the ACLU and the very powerful, well-funded Arab lobbies that are part of the Washington scene.

Your repeated references to settlements as illegal are open to valid criticism. Obviously the most reliable sources from whom to seek clarification are the persons who played key roles in drafting the relevant resolution 242, namely British Ambassador to the UN, Lord Caradon, American Ambassador, Arthur Goldberg and US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Eugene Rostow. All have agreed that settlements are legal. In an interview in the Beirut Daily Star on June 12, 1974, Lord Caradon stated:  "It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967 because these positions were undesirable and artificial".

Professor Julius Stone, one of the twentieth century's leading authorities on the Law of Nations concurred that the Jewish right of settlement in the territories is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing Palestinian population to live there.

What must deeply concern everyone interested in maintaining Western democracy is the danger that this widely advertised documentary diverts attention from the real threat of Jihad, by equating it with non-violent religious movements.

Sorely missing from the entire series is any mention of the basic motivator of Islamic violence, the incitement to hatred emanating from state media as well as openly from mosques, not only in Arab countries but under the noses of European and British governments. As human beings, can we be unperturbed by the indoctrination of infants to become suicidal Warriors as shown in an interview with a three-and-a-half year old girl broadcast on Iqra? See video clip at

It is sad that in your documentary which could serve to create a genuine better understanding of the violence generated by religious zealotry, the authoritative voices of many experts in the field were omitted.

Among the many who would have added authoritative insight into the subject are Brigitte Gabriel, who lectures nationally and internationally about terrorism and who has issued an Urgent Warning to the West, Professor Salim Mansur the Muslim writer and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario, Steven Emerson the internationally recognized expert on militant Islamic terrorism and national security and Dr. Khaleel Mohammed, the Islamic law specialist and professor of Religion at San Diego State University.


Your considered response would be appreciated.

Maurice Ostroff

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