Very hard to be the CNN of the Arab world. This week, Al Jazeera triggered a major controversy when it broadcast the comments of Wafa Sultan, a psychologist living in the United States who is an ardent critic of Islamic extremism. Here is what Sultan said:

All the religions and faiths have been subject throughout history to criticism and insults, and this helped to develop and amend them over time. The only faith which beheads those who oppose it – is destined to turn into terror and tyranny.

This is the situation of Islam from its beginning to this day. It has sentenced its critics to prison terms, and those who escaped custody were killed. The Danish cartoons have managed to drop the first brick in the wall and open a window, through which the sun rays will be able to enter after a long period of darkness . . .

If Islam was not what it is, these cartoons would not appear. They did not come from an empty space, and the cartoonist did not make them up from his sick mind. They were an expression of what he is familiar with. . . . The Muslims’ barbaric reaction added to the value of these cartoons. It simply proved their rightness: The Muslim is an irrational creature, and the things he learned overpower his mind and inflame his feelings. That is why these remarks have turned him into an inferior creature, who cannot control himself and respond to events in a rational way.

Heavy stuff, especially when said in Arabic. And there is more where that came from. A Jordanian newspaper accused the channel of leading a “normalization campaign with the Zionist enemy and is the only one which hosts the official spokespersons of the enemy’s army and government.” (Funny: all this time I thought Jordan was at peace with Israel.)

Not to worry, though. Apparently this degree of free expression is too much even for Al Jazeera, which has issued an apology, cancelled all reruns of the program, and warned the show’s host never to have Sultan on again.

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