Mas`ud Sabri, researcher at the Faculty of Darul-`Ulum, Cairo University, Egypt, says: As this issue is related to the media, we should know a good deal about the opinions given by the media people on it. Jurists always say that to judge something, you should know it well.
Many of the analysts in the media field see that Al-Hura Channel is a part of the American cultural campaign against the Arab world. It aims at dominating the region culturally and improving the images of the United States and Israel.
It is also a part of the cultural war launched by the United States after September 11. It is considered an extension of Sawa American radio station that was broadcast in Arabic especially for the Arab world. That radio station has played a vital role in the media war that accompanied the US invasion of Iraq. It was broadcast inside Iraq from a naval vessel in the Arab Gulf.
Al-Hura Channel is also an extension to Hi Arabic magazine, which addresses the youth under 30 in the Arab world, especially university students and those in different educational stages. Tens of thousands of that magazine were sold for low price, aiming at brainwashing the Arab youth.
Therefore, the aims of this channel can be summed up as follows:
1. to improve the image of the American invasion to Iraq
2. to brainwash the Arabs and direct them towards normalization with the Zionists
3. to present alternatives to Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya channels.
The Islamic ruling on watching Al-Hura channel can also be summed up as follows:
In general, it is impermissible to watch anything that involves distortion to Islam or deception to man’s mind and reason. Muslim jurists have specified that a Muslim must preserve five fundamentals: religion, life, reason, property, and progeny. So to preserve religion and reason, a Muslim should not watch the channel in question and all similar channels that aim at distorting Islam and violating Muslims’ reason.
It should be carefully considered whether boycotting the channel altogether would be effective in bringing about its failure and fall, or whether there is n
o harm in watching it, assuming that the audience is no longer ignorant of the channel’s anti-Islamic campaign. An educated audience that can see the real intentions of the enemy and refute the false claims might benefit the Ummah by following the channel.
Of course, Al-Hura is not the only American media directed to the Arabs. So Muslims should search for the most effective means to face the media war against the Muslim Ummah. They should realize the role to be played by the Arab and Islamic mass media in confronting this problem.
Through Al-Hura channel, the United States intends to create direct interaction with the peoples instead of dealing with the systems, i.e., to influence the public opinion of the influential groups within the Arab and Islamic worlds.
Moreover, Dr. Sami Ash-Shareef, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Media, Cairo university, states:
“Following up with this channel, I think that Al-Hura is informatively weak in matters of ideas and preparation. It presents spoiled products to the Arab audience, as the official American propaganda is by nature weak. The intentions of the American propaganda are clearly manifested in the data of the channel, and that is why the Arabic US radio channel directed to the Arab world has stopped.
Hence, the Muslims should not stay idle in the face of these channels; they should try their best to strengthen their mass communication system. They should also impart morals and good manners to the Muslim youth so that they can deal properly with what is being telecast through such immoral channels.
However, we cannot say that the Muslims should boycott that channel just because it is an American one, as really no people should merely boycott the channels telecast by their enemy. Conversely, they should watch them to find out the telecasting technology used by the enemy, to know the wicked schemes plotted against the Muslims and the Arabs so as to handle them in the appropriate manner.
It is actually good to know the enemy’s way of thinking so that the Muslims can take all necessary preparations to face them. Moreover, the call for having a boycott with such channels is not applicable, for in practice people would not commit themselves to it. Moreover, it prevents the Muslims from realizing the schemes of the enemy against them, in accordance with the common proverb ‘who knows the language of a people would be safe from their wickedness.’
This means that with wisdom and good preparation, the Muslims can understand the enemy’s means of propaganda and study them well, so that they can resist them. So in this case, boycott is not the proper solution; confrontation is.”
Therefore, a Muslim should not work for such a channel after realizing its aims, for working there would help it prosper and succeed, and the channel’s workers are the direct tools of propagating the American thinking, which aims at harming the Arab and Islamic worlds. Refraining from work in that channel is, thus, a religious obligation. Anybody supporting this channel or performing any work in it, knowing the real intentions behind its establishment, it would be committing a sin.
As for watching that channel, one should select the programs carefully. It is impermissible to watch any programs that include violation of Islam and its teachings, such as erotic movies and music video clips and other immoral programs, whether on Al-Hura or other channels.
As for programs used by the Americans to spread bad thinking and ideas contrary to the Islamic teachings, a Muslim who is specialized in the media field should follow such programs so as to refute any false claims and verify them, giving the right image of Islam. Such a role is to be played by the specialists in the first place, then it can extend to those who have the ability to criticize and reply to that falsification, as a kind of jihad in the field of information. As for those who do not have such abilities but are too rational to be deceived by such programs, watching the channel would be blameworthy for them, as it incurs no profits nor does it incur harm.
For those who know that they may not be able to distinguish and those who have no guide to direct them and who, thus, may be deceived by the false ideas telecast in that channel, the probability of harm is greater than that of profit. In this case, watching such channels would be, a fortiori, impermissible. So the Muslims should keep away from what may harm their religion, reason, morals, and manners.
In summary, the juristic advisory in this concern is based on the nature of the telecast programs, an assessment of the harm versus profit to the viewers, and the restrictions mentioned above.”