MEMRI hosted an event on Capitol Hill last June titled "Must-See Saudi TV." The event was sponsored by Senators Santorum, Schumer, and Collins, and analyzed television programs broadcast by stations funded and controlled by the Saudi Arabian government, such as TV1, TV2, and satellite channels such as Al-Majd and Iqra TV.
Shows featured leading Saudi religious figures, professors, members of the royal family, government leaders, and intellectuals. Certain messages and themes surfaced again and again: calls for the annihilation of Christian and Jews; anti-American and anti-Semitic declarations; rallying cries for jihad and terrorism, and incitement against American troops in Iraq.
An hour before the event began, Fox News reporter Sheppard Smith covering the meeting said on the air:
As terrorists threaten Westerners inside Saudi Arabia and everywhere else it seems like, a group of U.S. lawmakers plan to take a look at what makes the airways inside Saudi Arabia. They're gonna start watching TV there; in fact they're gonna get together to do that. The Middle East Media Research Institute will host some senators at a presentation of recently broadcast pieces from Saudi-controlled television. So what's the difference between what Saudis say in our TV boxes and inside their own?
As I left the MEMRI office for the event, the phone rang. It was a frantic representative of the Saudi government press agency's office in Washington, D.C., asking what would be shown.
Today, a follow-up event will be held at the Capitol to examine what - if any - changes occurred at Saudi television outlets during the past year. The timing is notable since in February the kingdom hosted an international counterterrorism conference that produced the royal family's much-heralded "Riyadh Declaration." The communique emphasizes "the importance of enhancing the values of understanding, tolerance, [and] dialogue [and] becoming acquainted with other peoples, bringing cultures together, rejecting any clash of civilizations, and combating any ideology that calls for hatred, instigates violence, or justifies the terrorism crimes that are denounced by all religions."
Unfortunately, since September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabian officials have been inciting their own people and others in the Muslim world to hatred against non-Muslims, and in particular Jews and Christians. America has also been a target.
While compiling segments from Saudi TV to show on Capitol Hill today, countless clips had to be left on the cutting-room floor. It would have taken all day to view all the examples of hatred MEMRI gathered over the past year.
The hour-long compilation will include a talk show in which the audience laughs during a discussion of those murdered on September 11, 2001, and another wherein leading Saudi clerics explain why it is permissible to kill American soldiers in Iraq. The sampling also highlights programming on the coming collapse of America and a future Islamic conquest of the universe. Religious programs devoted to Koranic teachings encourage hatred of Jews and Christians, discuss the annihilation of Jews, and support suicide bombers by telling what happens when a martyr dies - they are rewarded by Allah with 72 black-eyed virgins.
Last week's Friday sermon from Islam's most holy site, the Al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, by its imam, Sheik Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, will be screened, too. In the sermon he stated: "Oh Allah, liberate our Al-Aqsa Mosque from the defilement of the occupying and brutal Zionists...Oh Allah, punish the occupying Zionists and their supporters from among the corrupt infidels. Oh Allah, scatter and disperse them, and make an example of them for those who take heed."
Previously, Sheik al-Sudayyis's sermons have been characterized by confrontation against non-Muslims. He has called Jews "scum of the earth" and "monkeys and pigs" who should be "annihilated." Other enemies of Islam, he says, are "worshippers of the cross" and "idol-worshipping Hindus," who should be fought.
Any claims by the House of Saud that they are not spreading hate is simply a lie.
As the world witnesses Islamic-based terrorism, most recently in Britain, the global community must demand the Saudis stop their incitement. This is long overdue.
To view the clips shown on Capitol Hill today, a specially designated link can be found at www.memritv.org.