|Hamas Expands Reach Through Media|
A new Arabic language satellite television channel, reportedly linked to Hamas, is the latest part of the terrorist organization's expanding media network.
Al Quds TV, launched on November 11, 2008, enables Hamas, which now controls the Gaza Strip, to spread its messages promoting terrorism and hatred of Jews and Israelis to a wider audience.
According to the director general of Al Quds, Nabil al-Utaybi, the Beirut-based station is for "all Palestinians, and for those concerned about
Much of the programming appears to be in line with Hamas' virulent anti-Israel and anti-Jewish ideology. For example, Al Quds first day of broadcasting, which coincided with the fourth anniversary of Yassir Arafat's death, included Hamas leader Khaled Mashal's eulogy of Arafat in which he claimed that "Zionists and their proxies" poisoned the former Palestinian Authority leader.
Al Quds also broadcast a documentary ostensibly detailing life in
In a November interview with Al Manar TV, Hezbollah's television station, Utaybi said that Al Quds was launched at a time "when the Israeli onslaught on
The station is available in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as several European countries, via two satellite companies; Nilesat, an Egyptian company that broadcasts to the Middle East and North Africa, and Arabsat, a Saudi Arabia-based company broadcasting in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Hamas already operates a satellite TV channel, the Gaza-based Al Aqsa TV, which began broadcasting in the Gaza Strip in January 2006. Al Aqsa TV, which promotes terrorist activity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis, is headed by Fathi Ahmad Hammad. Hammad is chairman of Al Ribat Communications and Artistic Productions, a Hamas-run company that also produces Hamas's radio station, Voice of Al Aqsa, and its biweekly newspaper, The Message.
Hamas has also recently enhanced its effort to reach a wider audience through the Internet. In July 2008, Hamas launched AqsaTube allowing users to upload, view and share videos. The Arabic site, which is similar to YouTube, includes videos that glorify suicide bombers and terrorism of suicide bombers.
AqsaTube is one of about 20 Web sites operated by Hamas. For example, its Arab-language on-line magazine for children, Al-Fateh, uses cartoon characters, games and other content to demonize Jews and Israelis and glorify terrorism. Al Quds TV has a Web site, which is hosted on a server in
Al Quds TV reportedly was established under the auspices of the Al Quds International Institution (QII), a Beirut-based foundation that seeks to restore
QII held a conference in
Mawlawi is also the deputy of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a Dublin-based group founded in 1997 by Qaradawi to establish a central religious authority for European Muslims. The Council does not acknowledge the state of
In a statement on the dual language (English and Arabic) Web site, IslamOnline, in June 2007, Mawlawi says that Palestinians fight merely "to drive out the Zionist aggressors and to force them to return to the countries they came from." In July 2007, Mawlawi issued a fatwa on IslamOnline stating, "Martyr operations are not suicide and should not be deemed as unjustifiable means of endangering one's life."