The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Serving Canada Or Serving Islamists?

News Image By Tom Quiggin/Gatestone Institute February 07, 2018
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Canada's state broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) consistently supports the Islamist cause, including direct cooperation with terrorist front groups. This support extends to editing domestic Canadian stories to ensure that even ISIS is not criticized in the domestic context.

Given that the CBC is owned by the Government of Canada and funded by taxpayers with a billion dollar a year subsidy, the question arises as to whom they serve.

The CBC deliberately removes references to ISIS and other Islamist groups when it would reflect poorly on the terrorist group's presence and influence in Canada. On February 19, 2016, for instance, the CBC ran a story concerning events at Maisonneuve College in Montreal. The bland title was "Collège de Maisonneuve teachers' union wants action over alleged library threats."

In this CBC story, the teacher's union demanded that the college management intervene after threats made to staff in the college's library. Line Légaré, the college's spokesperson, stated teachers had intervened and asked students to lower their voices because they were "quite loud, more than we would like for a library." Police had reported violence in the parking lot on one evening.

By contrast, La Presse, a Montreal based French language newspaper reported the same situation in a story titled "Tensions et intimidation au collège de Maisonneuve" ("Tensions and Intimidation at Maisonneuve College"). The reporting by La Presse stated that the students causing the problems had tried to leave Canada to become ISIS fighters.

Additionally, five more Maisonneuve students had succeeded in leaving to be fighters in Syria and Iraq in January 2015, while four other Maisonneuve students had also tried to leave Canada in May of 2015.

These included one student who was involved in a violent confrontation that resulted in the police being called. The ISIS-supporting students had taken down the license plate numbers of the staff and had blocked non-Muslim students from using a common space.

The La Presse story also revealed that the ISIS students had tried to take over an entire floor of the library and only allow students who supported ISIS to use the space.

The CBC version excluded any mention of the students who had tried to leave the country to fight for ISIS, and no mention was made that ISIS sympathizers who had tried to leave for ISIS were the key players. The CBC story only focuses on students with "loud voices."

Cooperating with Islamist Fronts

The CBC cooperates with Al Jazeera, which has a long history of being a mouthpiece for the Government of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood, especially Al Jazeera in Arabic, which has little if anything to do with the English-language version.

The Muslim Brotherhood is listed as a terrorist group in number of Middle Eastern countries, while the United Kingdom says that membership of, association with, or influence by the Muslim Brotherhood should be considered as a possible indicator of extremism. The Motto of the Muslim Brotherhood is:

"Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."

The Muslim Brotherhood itself has just called for a global uprising against the United States. Typically, the Arab language declaration called for a violent uprising while the English language version called for protests.
Al Jazeera also has a history of glorifying extremist Islamist figures such as Osama bin Landen.

As the New York Times Magazine noted in November of 2001, "A huge, glamorous poster of bin Laden's silhouette hangs in the background of the main studio set at Al Jazeera's headquarters in Doha, the capital city of Qatar."

Journalists from Al Jazeera finally quit the organization en masse in 2013 when it leadership imposed rules requiring favoritism for the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Jazeera had been seen for years as little more than a front for the Government of Qatar. But it is Qatar that shelters the Iranian-backed leadership of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The CBC began working with Al Jazeera on a documentary in 2014, immediately after the Al Jazeera journalists had quit in protest in 2013. The Al Jazeera journalists in question had quit as they did not want to work for an organization that had told them to support, among others, the efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood and its government in Egypt. With the Muslim Brotherhood's long-time affiliation to terror and violence, this is an understandable position.

The CBC, on the other hand, cooperated with Al Jazeera on projects such as a documentary on the life of Omar Khadr, who murdered US Army Sergeant Speers, spent ten years in Guantanamo Bay Prison, and then won $10.5 million settlement in a lawsuit against the Canadian government, as well as an official "apology." The murdered soldier's widow received nothing.

The CBC documentary, Omar Khadr: Out of the Shadows, was initially broadcast in May, 2015. Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera America were all listed as cooperating partners.

The documentary was well received by some sections of the media. Others, however, felt that the entire CBC effort was a whitewash and that the journalists involved lacked objectivity and balance. Among the complaints were that Omar Khadr was referred to as a translator, overlooking his conviction for murder.

Omar Khadr's father and family were referred to as humanitarians, again overlooking his role as a financier of Al Qaeda. Ahmed Sayed Khadr was noted by Al Qaeda as a "martyr" and he was complimented for throwing his son Omar in the furnace of battle. Omar Khadr was never asked about how he felt about making explosives for the jihadist cause.

Further complicating the issue was that Canada at the time was using its air force to bomb ISIS, a group which Qatar was often seen to be supporting. Canadian special forces were also on the ground in undetermined locations at the same time, believed to be supporting local opponents of ISIS. For CBC to be cooperating with Qatar and its mouthpiece Al Jazeera while the Canadian military had forces on the battlefield is questionable, although probably not illegal. Whether CBC should have disclosed these issues is still a question.

Of general interest, Al Jazeera America (closed April 2016) was created when it took over Current TV, major shareholders of which included Al Gore, Joel Hyatt, and Ronald Burkle. Before it was Current TV, the channel had been called News World International, whose majority holder was the CBC.

Editorial Policies and "Immersion Piss Christ"

The CBC claims that it respects religious sensibilities, a "moral signal" repeated after the jihadist murders of 12 writers and cartoonists at the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.

In 2015, David Studer, CBC's director of Journalistic Standards and Practices sent an email to CBC's news staff. The email stated that "We are being consistent with our historic journalistic practices around this story, not because of fear, but out of respect for the beliefs and sensibilities of the mass of Muslim believers about images of the Prophet. Similarly, we wouldn't publish cartoons likely to dismay or outrage mainstream followers of other religions."

Tony Burman was formerly the editor in chief of CBC news. When discussing the idea of publishing the Mohamed cartoons, he was quoted as saying:

"Tony Burman of the CBC explained that 'most media in Canada dealt with the story in the same way.' The CBC felt that it could 'easily describe the drawings in simple and clear English without actually showing them. That was indeed, without embarrassment, as an act of respect not only for Islam but for all religions.' Burman also felt there was no reason to offend part of its audience for 'absolutely no public value."'

It is difficult to tell if Burman's concerns around publishing the Mohammed cartoons were driven by an altruistic view or his own views. Tony Burman had also worked for the Al Jazeera, in both Doha as managing director for their English Network and in the Washington DC office as chief strategic advisor for Al Jazeera in the Americas. The announcement noted that "Burman used to head up the CBC."

In practice, however, the CBC only respects such sensibilities when it comes to Islamists such as ISIS or those who attacked Charlie Hebdo. When it comes to attacking Christians and Jews, the CBC exercises no such restraint. For instance, the CBC ran, and still displays, the "Immersion Piss Christ" story.

This consists of an "award winning photo" in which a plastic crucifix is submerged in a small glass tank of the artist's urine. The story contains the image, which directly contradicts Burman's statement that they could "easily describe the drawings in simple and clear English without actually showing them."

The CBC also ran multiple articles on (then) newly elected Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer in which they showcased his Christian faith. In a scathing article, a CBC reporter describes how "Religion most often involves a deep commitment to telling other people how to live their lives." The general thrust of the article is that Scheer cannot be trusted because of his faith. Running a story on party leader Andrew Scheer is completely acceptable, it seems, and questions about his faith are fair points of discussion.

CBC's institutionalized bias is highlighted, not by how it treats Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, but rather its silence on how it treats others.

Canada's Saudi born Liberal junior cabinet minister Omar Algebra is an open supporter of Sharia Law and has a long series of dubious connections to Islamist front groups. He has stated that he did not think that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are terrorist groups.

CBC has never run an article on the value systems of an Islamist Canadian politician who believes in Sharia Law. Al Jazeera, however, did run a glowing piece on Omar Alghabra and his friendship with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

Member of Parliament Iqra Khalid, born in Pakistan, has written documents that openly support Salafism, Sharia Law and speak out against any form of modernization in Islam. Yet the CBC remains silent on whether her faith and writings should be put under examination. This despite the fact she proposed the anti-Islamophobia Parliamentary Motion M-103, seen by many as an anti-free speech effort.

The Minster for the Status of Women, is Maryam Monsef, was born in Iran or Afghanistan, depending on which story one believes. She has openly stated that she is "fascinated" by Sharia. The CBC remains silent; it has never run a critical article on whether a Minister for the Status of Women who believes in Islamic law, Sharia, is suitable for public office in Canada.

The CBC also quotes organizations such as the National Council for Canadian Muslims, formerly known as CAIR CAN. The CBC has referred to the NCCM/CAIR CAN as a civil rights group, but fails to note that it was formed to support its parent organization, CAIR USA, which is a listed terrorist group in the United Arab Emirates. It also does not mention that CAIR USA was formed in part by supporters of HAMAS and that it has had multiple run-ins with terrorism financing.

Similarly, when supporting a variety of Islamist issues, the CBC quotes as a source the Canadian Council of Imams. The CBC does not reveal, however, that the Vice President of the Council of Imams, Hakim Quick, believes that the position of Islam on homosexuality is death. It also does not state that the "Emir" of the council is also the head of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). The ICNA believes that Islam is not compatible with democracy, women are inferior and wife beating is permissible.

In short, the very groups the CBC relies on for commentary are Islamist in nature. These groups often advocate gross violations of human rights. The CBC is either aware of this and ignores it, or the people there are incompetent and do not check what their sources advocate.


The CBC appears to have a willful policy of protecting Islamists, including ISIS in Canada, from public exposure. Students who had tried to leave Canada to fight for ISIS were using violence and threats of violence to express their will to force their control over parts of a public educational institute.

Yet the national broadcaster deliberately sent parts of the story down the memory hole by excluding any reference to ISIS sympathizers of any culpability for their actions.

The CBC also grants a free pass to those politicians who have been openly identified as Islamists, yet attacks Christians who have stated they will not bring their personal faith into the public realm.

CBC accepts cooperation and assistance from front groups for known terrorism entities, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Is it just a coincidence that they then whitewash stories about known Islamists such as Al Qaeda terrorist and financier Ahmed Said Khadr and his son Omar?

Al Jazeera journalists appear to have had enough intellectual honesty and moral strength to quit Al Jazeera, rather than be foot soldiers for a terrorist front group. What does this say for the CBC, who continued cooperating with Al Jazeera?

Canada has a significant Islamist problem, including embracing members of Islamist front groups that use, Canadian political parties as points of entry for expanding their influence. This problem includes five Islamist inspired terrorist attacks or attempted attacks in the last four years.

Additionally, the Soufan Group, which provides strategic security intelligence services to governments and multinational organizations, suggests that 180 ISIS fighters were from Canada, but only 129 came from the USA. Given that the USA has a population roughly ten times of that of Canada, the numbers suggest that the problem of radicalization is far greater in Canada than in the US.

As a criminal and federal court expert on terrorism, specifically jihadist-based terrorism, my opinion is that the CBC has willfully assisted Islamists in the creation of the social, cultural and political spaces necessary for extremism to grow.

By deliberately sheltering even ISIS supporters acting out in Canada from public scrutiny, the state broadcaster is failing the Canadian public. By granting Islamist politicians in Canada immunity from scrutiny for their beliefs, the state broadcaster is compounding its errors.

This failure appears willful, intentional, and consistent over time. As such, in the event of another Islamist inspired terrorist attack in Canada, or in the event of a terrorist attack in the USA carried out by a Canadian, the CBC may be exposed to a libel suit in the Federal Court of Canada for its institutional support of the Islamist cause. This support has helped to create the political, social and cultural spaces in Canada where Islamist extremism grows.

Originally published at Gatestone Institute - reposted with permission.

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