Aides to former Democratic Vice President Al Gore have failed to respond to a recent Al-Jazeera TV broadcast, in which a top imam affirmed the death penalty for anyone who quits Islam.
Gore sold his Current TV network to Al-Jazeera, which now plans to extend its broadcast into the United States this summer, according to Ashok Sinha, vice president of corporate communications at Current TV/Al-Jazeera America.
Gore reportedly sold Current TV for $500 million and endorsed Al-Jazeera’s news programs.
Western critics of Islam highlighted a recent broadcast of the network’s regular “Shariah and Life” show, which has an estimated audience of 60 million viewers worldwide.
The show’s host is Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prominent Sunni Islamic cleric.
He declared that Islam’s mandated death-penalty for apostasy has kept Islam alive since the 1400s. “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment Islam wouldn’t exist today,” Qaradawi said on the show.
Qaradawi cited specific verses and narrations by Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, and the recorded testimony of his companions, that mandate the death penalty for anyone who tries to leave Islam.
“Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:33 says: ‘The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle is that they should be murdered or crucified,’” Qaradawi quoted on his show.
“And many hadiths, not only one or two, but many, narrated by a number of Muhammad’s companions state that any apostate should be killed. Ibn ‘Abbas’s hadith: ‘Kill whomever changes his faith [from Islam].’”
Those punishments are still applied in modern days. In early January, an Egyptian court sentenced a widow and her seven children to 15 years in jail for converting from Islam to Christianity, Fox News reported.
“The most recent Qaradawi quotes about conversion from Islam are pretty much consistent with his own and Muslim Brotherhood beliefs,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official who has specialized in Middle Eastern research.
“They fall into Al-Jazeera’s pattern of seeking ratings on the basis of inciting hatred and violence,” he added.
The Muslim Brotherhood is an Egypt-based Islamic revival group, which says the Arab world can be rejuvenated by complying with Islam’s extensive set of rules about religion, personal behavior and politics.
In 2012, a top brotherhood official, Mohammed Morsi, narrowly won election to Egypt’s presidency. White House officials have backed Morsi, saying he is trying to establish a stable democracy in the increasingly poor country.
Gore faced considerable criticism for selling Current TV to a corporation funded by Qatar, which receives the majority of its wealth from fossil fuels.
Gore told NBC’s “Today” show that he understood the criticism but that he disagreed with it. “I think Al-Jazeera has, obviously, long since established itself as a really distinguished and effective news gathering organization. … Its climate coverage has been far more extensive and high quality,” he said on the “Today” show.
In addition to hypocrisy accusations, Gore also, reportedly, kept $100 million of the deal, oilprice.com, an online source for oil and energy needs, reported.
When asked to comment on Al-Jazeera’s broadcast of al-Qaradawi threats, Gore’s offices failed to respond to The Daily Caller and Current TV’s press services forwarded requests to Al-Jazeera, in which Sinha denied comment as well.
“At best Al Gore is in a state of denial about what Al-Jazeera does,” Rubin told TheDC. “In reality, he’s probably just greedy and without any true ideology beyond self-aggrandizement, and at worst — if he really does believe himself principled — he’s become Exhibit A in the strange ideological embrace between progressives and Islamists,” he said.
“Regardless, I wouldn’t hold my breath for Gore or Current TV to say a thing.”