Sunday, October 26, 2008

Life TV and Jihad Watch

Unbeknownst to most English speakers, Islam is currently “under attack” (at least that’s how many Muslims depict it) from Christian, Arabic missionary satellite stations. Spearheading this phenomenon is Al-Haya (or “Life TV”), a station dedicated to discussing issues relating to Islam and Christianity, specifically, demonstrating the many shortcomings and problems of the former, while pointing out how those problems are not present in the latter. Life TV has been extremely successful in winning converts from the Islamic world. Unprecedented in all ways—Middle Eastern Christians (dhimmis) being confrontational and critical towards Islam, while unabashedly proclaiming their faith—Life TV has rocked the Islamic world.

Perhaps most (in)famous is Coptic priest Zakaria Botros. After finding out about him and watching some of his shows on the Internet, I wrote about him for NRO. (I am told that mine was the first major and widespread article about Botros, which subsequently led to many reporters inquiring and writing more about the priest—a natural result considering that what he and Life TV are doing is both extremely newsworthy and practically unknown in the Western world. I’m only happy that it worked out this way.)

Aside from Zakaria Botros’ shows (Questions about Faith and Dialogue of Truth), there in another program I’ve been recently following called Su’al Jari’, that is, “Daring Question.” Hosted by apostate Muslim converts to Christianity known only by their first names, Rashid and Ahmed, the show’s no-holds barred style has made it, along with Zakaria’s shows, one of the most watched programs on Arabic satellite. And, as with the Coptic priest’s shows, theirs has come under increasing attack from the Muslim world—not least because it is instrumental in gaining converts from Islam. (The above YouTube video is an English sub-titled clip of Rashid and Ahmed talking to a weeping Muslim woman living in England who wants to convert to Christianity but is afraid of her Muslim husband.)

The show typically deals with a theme in Islam—most recently, the absurdities of recent fatwas. Next the hosts, who, as former pious Muslims are evidently very learned in their former faith, proceed to describe the legitimacy of that theme straight from Islam’s sources—first the Koran, followed by (often little known) hadiths, and then the words of the ulema—that is, usul al-fiqh. After demonstrating the problem, as well as Islam’s support for it—recently, that drinking camel’s urine is salutary—they discuss the issue, as well as welcome calls from viewers, some sympathetic apostates, some on-the-fence Muslims, others Muslim zealots who promise the hosts death and misery in this world and the hereafter.

Though all this is important, it is also all done in Arabic, preventing English speakers from following the debate, the issues, the outbursts, and the threats. While the show is geared towards proselytizing Muslims, it does this by exposing Islam—and it is this latter aspect which should be of particular importance to Jihad Watch readers, regardless of their religious affiliation, or lack thereof.

I will, therefore, begin watching Life TV more regularly, summarizing the more important episodes—including making better known otherwise obscure hadiths and ulemaic verdicts and fatwas, as well as modern day Muslims’ views on these issues—thereby keeping Jihad Watch readers informed of this very important debate going on in the Islamic world and exclusively in Allah’s language.
Thanks Jihad Watch

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