To Whom It May Concern,
I watched this program last night on Al Queda and the terrorists and I am absolutely APPALLED, MORTIFIED AND DISCUSTED at the fact that you broadcast the audio tape of Nicholas Berg's execution. How could you be so insensitive to his family, friends and your viewer's as to emotionally torture and disturb people, such as myself, with a real audio tape of the sounds of him screaming as they murdered him? Have you no sense of decency or respect not only for his parents who could have possibly SEEN and HEARD that show last night or do you simply not give a crap about the further desensitization of people in our now more dangerous society?
All I'd like to ask of the person or persons who produced this show and went over with a fine tooth comb before they aired it last night is this, had this been your child, friend, Uncle, nephew or just fellow human being being brutally murdered, would you want to hear it happening? My heart was pounding when I heard that boy's sick cries of terror, how the hell do you think other people felt when they heard that?
This is PBS and I will always support PBS, but you have got to think about the impact of what you do more closely when dealing with how much people need to hear, believe me, we don't need to, nor do any of us want to hear a person being murdered..I can still hear that poor Nicholas Berg screaming in my mind today and it is disturbing to say the least.
Please do not ever inflict this emotional disturbance on the public ever again.
FRONTLINE's editors respond:
During the FRONTLINE broadcast "Al Qaeda's New Front," we reported on an Italian police investigation into a suspected mastermind of the Madrid train bombings. In the course of their investigation, the Italians bugged the suspect’s apartment and overheard him watching the execution of Nicholas Berg on a jihadi web site. Such sites are known to be used as recruiting devices to encourage young Muslims to join the cause.
The decision to play even some of the audio from the terrorist site was a difficult one. It is a question of taste and judgment. A small number of viewers have complained that we went too far. We thank those viewers who were upset for contacting us. Reporting the ugly side of war is a difficult challenge, and they remind us that we must be extremely careful not to use material that is violent just for its own sake.
In this instance we allowed the audio to play out (but not entirely) in all its horror because we felt that its power would have been lost in simply noting what happened to Mr. Berg in the narration. In our view, those who heard it have a much better understanding of the true nature of the violence glorified by the suspects profiled in our report. It is a sad, but chilling reminder of what we face.
Louis Wiley, Jr.
The British Prime Minister, The Mayor of London and various religious leaders have repeatedly said that 99.5% Muslims are law abiding people. This majority has been referred to as ‘The Silent Majority'.
As a Muslim myself, I completely agree with this statement.
However I would like to ask my fellow Muslims that where is the so called silent majority? Don't they feel that silence in current situation is criminal? Don't they feel that they have to disown these fanatics who are killing innocent people in the name of Islam?
9/11 came and went. We saw Balsan siege, Madrid bombing and now this chaos in London.
The silent majority kept criminally silent during all this. The only voice representing the Muslim people during this has been the bangs of these explosions or statements from different Mosque committees.
Now the time has come that the Muslims make their voices heard. They should come out on the streets of London and all over the world for that matter. They should completely alienate themselves from these terrorists who are neither Muslims nor Humans.
I watched the show and read the viewer responses and am thinking a lot like many of the viewers. We need to know more about where the anger comes from. I know many people of the Muslim faith and I know that the true meaning in the Koran is not of killing ad hatred but of peace and love. It is sad but true that there are fanatics in the Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths. Why is it so hard for us (as a WHOLE society) to see that we all believe in the SAME God. What is really gained by killing under God's name?
Great show as usual keeps me thinking well beyond the 60 minutes.
I find it very strange and disturbing that no one seems to care what the underlying cause of the current wave of terrorism is. If you touch the sore spot on an animal, that animal lashes out in whatever way it can.
Should we not try to eliminate the cause of all the terrorism? I believe it is all related primarily to American but also other western occupation of Islamic lands and the attempt to westernize their Middle Eastern culture. Except for Israel/Palestine we did not have this problem prior to Kuwait. As many [including myself] believe, America is the problem. The terrorists will not relent until they regain control of their land, culture, religion and above all, dignity.
Los Angeles, CA
Your broadcast on Al Qaeda's New Front in Western Europe opened my perspective and gave me a greater understanding of terrorist networks.
I'm a professional Landscape Architect, and I've always considered the Alhambra palace of the 14th century Moorish kings in Granada Spain to be an outstanding example of historic architecture. It was an offshoot of what a highly developed Moorish civilization could accomplish in great art, mathematics, science & philosophy without waging a war to end all wars.
The world has radically changed with 21st century Muslim terrorist groups declaring a jihadist war on western civilization throughout Europe and the USA. The people of the world are reacting strongly to this threat of terror and the Jihadists cannot split the west. Your program exposed them for who they really want to destroy. And they can only end up on the trash pile of history.
Gary H. Roller
Agoura Hills, CA
Some previous posts have alluded to this point, but it really needs to come to the surface. The human race desperately needs to come to terms with its unfortunate psychological grip on reliance for religion. While we have evolved to become the most intelligent species of animal on this planet, we are paying the greatest price for not paying attention to how our intellect should KEEP evolving. Relying on ancient mythology of any kind to guide our lives serves no purpose in this day and age.
I’m sure several will argue about all of the “good” religion has and is doing, but just do the math on the body counts and psychological damage that religion has created in our society over the millennia and you can nothing else but conclude that this is our one behavioral weakness that will eventually lead to our downfall.
As I drove one day, listening to NPR I heard a woman's voice over the radio saying "Bush didn't do his job well, he should have wiped them all out of the face of this Earth.. kill them, kill them all."
She was referring to the Muslims. Thinking this to be the opinion of all the non Muslims around the world, gave me the chills. But soon after I realized there will always be outliers in a real world data, and this woman was one of them.
Karen Armstrong points out in her book, Muhammad a biography of the Prophet, that Jewish fundamentalist justify their actions against the Muslims in Palestine by using text from the Torah in which the people of Israel are urged to drive the Canaanites and destroy their sacred symbols from the Promised Land. Is that Judaism? Again it is pointed out in the same book that in the gospel Jesus on one occasion says that he has come to bring not peace but the sword. Is that Christianity?
Frontline portrayed the outliers of Islam to be the majority Muslims. In times of war Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) always commanded his companions not to hurt women, children, old people, not to destroy the enemies' sacred houses and not to even cut a fruit bearing tree. And who would understand the Quran better than him?
Cary , NC
Most of what I wanted to say has been already said by others viewer. I would like just to add that I am disapointed about many point in your reportage.
My disapointment is due to at least three fact in the reportage:
First, when you show western converts to Islam, you obviously make sure to show the worst image you could, when we know that there are of them better muslims than the born muslims. Better to the point that they are worthy of becoming leader of the islamic world. But you wouldn't show them because you think that is too positive propaganda that islam don't deserve. When I see it as a possible bridge betwen the west and Islam.
Second. You wouldn't let someone like Michael Shauer tell what he thinks the solution is, while you sought his input in making the diagnostic.
Third. As many other media (unwittingly I believe ),you give the possibilities for racist comments to make their way into millions of households. Because in fact when someone like Brugiere(the french judge) say that some terrorists would drink alcohol, eat pork, wear suits and ties etc... he just meant to tell whites to distrust any muslim looking like (?) person no matter how nicely he would act.Unless he goes to church with you every sunday for at least two years.Which is another way to park muslims in concentration camps in the West until they are forced to leave it.
Which brings me to say: if indeed as Mr Shauer put it very wisely, terrorism against U.S is due to their policy, terrorism in Europe is caused by racism. To understand it you don't have to go so far, just do an interview with the Chicago based movement, Nation of Islam.
I find it frightening that some individuals posting here still fail to grasp the magnitude of the problem we are facing. I suppose we are letting the American character delude us whereas the Europeans have a far more pragmatic world view.
Why is it that to be patriotic is to refuse to admit that America could ever be wrong or that no threat is indomitable when facing the American military. I suggest those who do think terrorism can be defeated by military might try the following: Find an ant hill and shoot it with a BB gun. Now try to shoot every ant without getting bitten. It is impossible.
It is America's flawed foreign policies toward the middle-east that have created the situation. As a result, it will take diplomacy to strategically resolve the situation. If we give the zealots less factually based recruiting rhetoric, the spread slows and the problem is far more manageable; in essence, sealing the anthill. This will allow us to eliminate all exposed threats. The problem will never go away regardless of how many times Bush says it. There are too many lunatics in the world. The best we can hope for now is some semblance of maintainable normalcy instead of the frantic paranoia required today.
Rock Hill, SC
As an Anglo-American convert to Islam and an acting Imam I can certainly sympathize with your coverage of radicalized Muslims in Europe. I lived one year in Bradford, UK teaching in a traditional Pakistani mosque there. My experience there along with frequent trips to Germany exposed me to the various pressures placed upon Muslim immigrants and particularly second generation Muslim youth that engender intolerant and non-traditionalist interpretations of the Sacred Tradition that is Islam.
With that said, I felt your documentary still reenforced a 'seige and fear' message that much of Western media seems obsessed with. We need more attention given to the causes of Muslim distress and anger towards US policies, etc., not just the the resultant lashing out done by a few determined products of Modern Islamism.
Naeem Abdul Wali
Excellent program. I too was frustrated by a lack of discussion as to remedies for this situation. The individuals interviewed have exactly the depth and breadth of experience to offer informed opinions and I wish they had done so on the program. Other than what I read "between the lines" that improved cooperation between the US and Western Europe would help there was very little to give me hope as it is clear that Bush's present strategy of "taking the fight to the terrorist" in Iraq is a failed one. As feared, it is further radicalizing the region as evidenced by the posturing of Iran and the recent Palestinian elections. I was confused by the CIA operative Michael Scheuer. On one hand he criticizes the US's decision to enter war with Iraq, and on the other mentions the need for a "war on Islamic militancy", alluding to the lack of effectiveness of approaching the problem from policing and law enforcement strategies. Would any of the experts be able to add to the discussion on this forum? I am grateful for their service and dedication. I can only hope they are involved in a dialogue with our leaders.
Kudos to Frontline for bring the gravity of the issue of Islamic Fascism into our living rooms.
It has been obvioud to me for some time that many Americans have had too short a memory about the true meaning of 9/11, As a society of civilized people we have never clearly understood that we are in a world war with this unconventional, yet brutal enemy. Although it was excruciating to listen to, the audio tape of Mr. Berg's beheading should have driven the point home that we are dealing with a segment of the islamic population that takes the Koran to the letter of its violent law.
Although the vast majority of muslims live their lives as peaceful citizens, the Koran is not a book of moderate views in any way. To understand how the fundamentalists think, I would recommend a book by one of America's leading Islamic Scholars. Robert Spencer wrote Onward Muslim Soldiers, a book I have passed on to many friends who want to know just what makes this enemy tick. ...
Solutions to this issue are long-term, perhaps generations away. Only through the education of the Islamic young to love their own lives and to respect the lives of others will the current paradigm ever change. This starts with the imams letting go of their quest for the ancient ways, and to be educated themselves as to what the modern and future world has to offer their future generations if they are willing to embrace it.
Newport Beach, California
I commend you on your timely presentation of this very important program. For so many years our country has failed to fully embrace (and subsequently deal with) the growing and simmering evil of this dangerous and deadly threat. Sadly, our leaders do not seem eager to confront this menace, and in the wake of their lackluster efforts, our citizenry remains uneducated and left to parrot baseless sound bites. Your continuing programming related to this global danger is of paramount importance, and should be mandatory viewing for all citizens of the USA. I fear that we are in that race with time.....and I do not feel comfortable with our position on the track. Please continue your great work.
one of the emails took pbs to task for allowing the audio tape of the death of nicholas berg to air. i gather from the response from pbs that there was more on the tape but pbs decided to allow only the little they did. i believe we in america have been coddled so much that many do not understand how cruel people can be. the emailer is afraid we will become desensitized to the violence if we are allowed to witness or hear sounds of the violence in the world. the aftermath of the katrina disaster was covered in such detail that no one should be against our reporters reporting the details. who would have known the extent of the horrific damage to all the folks in new orleans, mississippi and alabama. or the failure of our government to go to their aid. i applaud pbs for the program. i keep up with world events as much as i can. especially when it concerns my country. and i don't want the truth, any of it, to be hidden from me. i need to know the bad and the good. otherwise i cannot make an informed decision about anything.
Thank you for your insightful and fascinating program. We Europeans are facing the formidable challenge posed by immigration, which is deeply intertwined with security issues ranging from illegal trafficking to disrupted welfare programs to terrorism. I believe the global war on terrorism is way too often hampered by political quarrels stemming from vested interests and poor leadership. The US and the EU must brush their differences aside and cooperate on a broad array of fronts if we are ever hoping to achieve what obviously is a common goal.
I have to chuckle at the people who are so paranoid about religion that they can somehow blame Christianity for this too. They are so blind that they can’t see what they call “Christian imperialism” is really just a response or backlash to decades of erosion of our national morals.
Last time I checked there were no "radical" Christians killing or bombing, but there were countless of them spending their own money to travel abroad to help build housing, orphanages, and with tsunami relief. As to the comments about how Christians would react if the tables were turned just look to the impact that the Church had in the demise of Communism—no carnage at all—just a resolve to remain true to their beliefs. It is very well documented.
If the radical Islamic view is an aberration then let’s start to see some vehement disagreement from the “mainstream” of The religion. Some here in these pages have surmised that Frontline omitted those voices. I guess that could be the case, but I am not sure that I have heard any of those in any other venue either.
I guess that it must be a worldwide conspiracy to suppress the more moderate voices. I guess that most of you probably think that Karl Rove has engineered that effort. Or, it could be that those voices are just plain absent from the discussion. I have looked all through the info provided in these web pages. All indications are that the radicals are far outnumbered by those who believe in peaceful Islam. Then the solution is very easy. We don’t’ have to listen to the highly touted (in these postings) former CIA analyst at all. Let’s just get the people of Islam to take care of their own internal problem.