Saudi Hand behind Egypt’s Anti-Jewish TV Serial

This week, two Egyptian TV channels begin running an extravagantly-produced serial based on the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an anti-Jewish document fabricated by the Tsar’s secret police in the early 20th century and decisively judged a forgery by historians. It will be aired nightly during the peak viewing period of the Muslim Ramadan, by two Egyptian channels – Dream TV, a private satellite channel, and the state-run Channel 2.
debkafile‘s Middle East sources report “The Horse without Horseman” was produced by Arab Radio and Television of Saudi Arabia as an epic that was written, directed and played by Egyptians. It portrays the fictional Elders, the purported blueprint for Jewish global domination, as historical fact and, in a mishmash of periods, makes it also the guiding principle of Israeli policy. A director of the program says the series “is based on the history of Zionism”.
Calls to cancel the Horse without Horseman, especially from the US government – on the grounds that it stokes hatred, bigotry and racism in a region that already suffers a surfeit of destructive emotions – were rebuffed by Cairo. So too were appeals to Arab leaders to condemn the anti-Semitism rife in the Egyptian media. A protest demonstration has been organized by Jewish organizations to take place outside the Egyptian embassy in Washington Monday, November 4.
But on Monday, too, an Arab League spokesman rejected Israeli charges that the series is a violation of the commitment Cairo undertook under the Egyptian-Israel peace accord to shun anti-Israel incitement. Egyptian information minister Safwat el-Sherif declared earlier he could not see what the fuss was about. He denied that “Horseman” had any anti-Semitic content at all. “Our media policy,” he says, “is to respect all monotheistic religions.”
This righteous assertion might be taken at face value were it not for the light shed by chance on the Egyptian minister’s language in a publication that accompanied last month’s seizure of 800 hostages at a Moscow theater by Chechen terrorists. The appalling loss of life – 118 hostages – during the Russian commando rescue operation overshadowed the aims and the ideology actuating the hostage-takers. Revealing their ideological rationale also tells us that the Egyptian minister was offer of respect for “monotheistic religions” was nothing but lip service aimed at a Western audience
According to the London Arabic publication A-Zaman, Russian hostages held 57 hours later reported that some of their captors may not have been Chechen, because they conversed in Arabic and used that language in cell phone calls. When Russians say Arabs, they usually mean Saudi Arabians, who support the Chechen insurgency on Islamic grounds.
The foreign ideological and financial background of that insurgency is laid bare, debkafile‘s counter-terror sources note, in the articles appearing in the Chechen separatists’ Web site at the time of the siege crisis. The site is written in Arabic and preaches adherence to the strict Wahhabist Sunni doctrine, which is the Saudi state religion. Since the Chechens do not speak Arabic, the site`s content was designed as a handbook to be used by their Arab mentors.
One feature of this brand of radical Islam is the stress it places on Tawhid, the principle of monotheism in its purest form.
In the Middle Ages, the North African Muhaddin who came to the aid of Spain’s Muslims in fending off European Christian assaults, fought under the battle cry of Tawhid. The Chechen Website cites incidents from Muhammed’s war to conquer Mecca as analogies of the Chechen struggle for a separatist Islamic republic; the Chechens are the Ummah (The People) and the Russians, the heretics of Mecca.
The Chechen site goes on to relate exploits of the Prophet, the same tales used to inflame the students of the Saudi medressas, the cradles of al Qaeda and its leaders. The founding fathers of the Wahhabi sect, Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyem, are given top billing compared with a mere father of the Sunnis, such as Ibn Atheer.
Reporting on the Moscow theater siege, in which 800 hostages were held for 57 hours, the Chechen site promises it is only the beginning of Russian suffering.
The Middle East research institute MEMRI, which collects and catalogues materials published in the Arab and Muslim world, has released translations of unsigned articles from whose main themes are prescriptions for the correct Islamic treatment of captives, guidelines that were clearly practiced by the Chechen hostage-takers in the Moscow theatre. According to the letter of the Koran, Koranic exegesis and the body of tradition built around the Prophet’s life and works, it is permissible, say these writers, to kill captives for the benefit of the general Muslim interest.
One article, captioned: Guide to the Perplexed on the Killing of Captives, appears in a section called “Jihad News from Caucasian Land”. According to the directives laid down for the treatment of captives, all based on Koranic exegesis, it is a Muslim’s bounden duty to kill a “polytheistic prisoner”. Polytheists and People of the Book (Christians and Jews) must be killed out of hand; for them, no pardons or ransoms are tolerated.
In Wahhabi eyes, Christians are no better than polytheists for believing in Jesus as the Son of God. Their refusal to recognize the People of the Book as monotheists is not explained – nor the reason why Osama Bin Laden proclaims the enemies of Islam as being “Crusaders and Jews”. However, uncovering this Wahhabi definition of monotheism also bares the intolerance for non-Islamic faiths concealed behind the Egyptian information minister’s sanctimonious declaration of respect for all “monotheistic” religions.
The rules of hostage-taking are equally precise in the articles appearing on the Chechen site. The prisoners whom it is permissible to ransom (excluding the “polytheists”) may be released only after large-scale casualties have been inflicted on the enemy. It is up to the imam or his deputy to determine whether any prisoner is to be killed, pardoned, exchanged for ransom or placed in bondage.
The Prophet Muhammed evinced pragmatism in his handling of prisoners, adjusting it as need be to circumstances and considerations of how best to benefit the Muslim interest. Examples are offered to show how the Prophet reached his decisions on whether to condemn certain prisoners to death, pardon them or free them for ransom.
The writers who penned the Chechen site also have an answer for the critics who argue it is unjust to punish a person (such as innocent hostages) for the sins of others. One writer replies that Allah allows the execution of any prisoner, finding him deserving of this fate by virtue of his being a prisoner – all the more so if his death for another’s sin serves an important Muslim interest and creates a deterrent. The Prophet, the writers argue, carried out such deeds to protect the soldiers of Islam and preserve the honor of Muslims.
One article poses the question: “Are Hostages Prisoners?” The author replies that the term in its modern sense applies to local and foreign abductees who are held as instruments of pressure to achieve certain ends. “He whom it is permissible to abduct under Islamic law is counted a hostage to be treated as a prisoner whose fate is calibrated by the degree of benefit accruing to the Muslims.”
The aggressiveness, with which these fundamentalist Wahhabist doctrines are propagated in the Muslim world, is not always fully revealed to the general public in the West. Neither is the degree to which it serves as a justification for violence against non-Muslim “polytheists”.
The Saudi authorities engage in draconian measures to keep Western moderating influences out of sight of their population. Last month, Saudi Arabian censors banned an edition of the London Arabic newspaper Al Hayat because of the space it gave to an open letter from 67 American intellectuals. This letter defended the US campaign against terrorism and called on Saudi intellectuals to denounce “militant jihadism” as un-Islamic.
The debate over the morality of terrorism has been bouncing back and forth among intellectuals in many Muslim countries since the September 11 suicide attacks on New York and Washington. For eight months, a group of American theologians and political scientists has been arguing with colleagues in Europe and the Middle East over the moral basis for the Bush war on terrorism.
Yet Saudi citizens are not allowed to hear the American side of the arguments against terrorism and suicide attacks – or even the fact that there is any debate at all. Instead, what they will be fed night after night during the peak viewing holy month of Ramadan is a diet of hate propaganda based on fiction, as dished up in the Horse without Horseman”.
This Egyptian-Saudi production represents another round in the religious, ethical and conceptual war against the Jews per se waged jointly by the first Arab government to sign peace with Israel and the advocate of a now forgotten Middle East peace plan.

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