Saturday, April 14, 2007

Papa Don't Preach

Letter from WETA official on PBS Crossfire series in today's Washington Times:

However, Mr. Gaffney and his colleagues have now chosen to make their attacks personal, even leveling accusations against my father, a respected author and Muslim convert, and suggesting that this family connection has compromised my editorial judgment. This is an absurd claim. In truth, my father, who converted to Islam almost 50 years ago, is a retired British diplomat of impeccable reputation who is now in his 80s. He writes to better explain Islam to Western readers and has been publicly lauded in Britain as a bridge builder between faiths.
One of his books, "Islam and the Destiny of Man" (published in 1985), is highly respected throughout the moderate Islamic intellectual community. For the past two decades, his writings have been influential in helping young Westernized Muslims better understand the true heart of their faith and how it relates to other faiths. He is totally opposed to the Islamist "hijacking" of Islam and has been publicly attacked many times over the years by fundamentalist and conservative Muslim scholars who reject his Western bias. Mr. Gaffney's charge is both unwarranted and untrue.

I and my colleagues at WETA and PBS have always believed the individual characters and stories included within the original two-hour cut of "Islam versus Islamists" to be both important and compelling. It is how Messrs. Gaffney and Burke choose to frame and structure their characters and stories that hasn't yet met PBS standards.
While we have continuously stated our willingness to work with the producers, Messrs. Gaffney and Burke have chosen to "attack the messenger" rather than trying to correct the message.

Read the rest here

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